Stigmatisation, a form of social exclusion, is well documented to negatively affect well-being and life chances. This research explores how the deodorant industry capitalises on our sensorial impressions by stigmatising those who are ‘smelly’. In particular, we analyse how deodorant advertising balances the stigmatisation of smell with a de-stigmatising solution. Combined, they establish boundaries for exclusion and inclusion, making inclusion possible, but also conditional, while simultaneously legitimising a product and industry. Interdisciplinary in nature, this study draws on sociological theory, institutional theory, historical sociology, and relies on archival research and semiotic analysis for data collection and analysis.
This project obtained funding of £1,080 from the Interdisciplinary Incubator Grant, Institute for Social Sciences Research (ISSR) at the University of Dundee. This was used to support archival research for the project (Apr – July 2021).