Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to explore recent arguments about the nature of the marketing discipline, to state a point of view, and to stimulate debate. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper takes the approach of a response to recent viewpoints,
with implicit permission to think aloud. Findings ‐ Marketing's "identity" crisis is alive, well and profitable, and has manifested itself most recently as the "critical" movement within contemporary marketing scholarship. The reasons are firmly embedded in conventionalized scholarly
tradition and the silent institutions that support it, whereby marketing scholars mobilise convenient rhetorics to shift goalposts and build declarative statements that often confuse ontology with tautology. Research limitations/implications ‐ The integrative work that the discipline
requires will be facilitated by a clearer understanding of the evolving institutional horizon, and how it defines acceptable knowledge-making practices. Practical implications ‐ An improved understanding of the functions of institutions in defining admissible knowledge-making
practice will help reform structures by means of which academic practitioners relate to the subjects they research, puncturing over-inflated and unhelpful debates about relevance, or theory and practice. This will benefit students, consultants, planners, strategists, and everyone in general.
Originality/value ‐ The paper presents a glimpse of oneself, if one is a marketing academic, and how one makes marketing "marketing" in a world of increasing specialization and the canonization of minutiae.