Abstract: Purpose – Collaboration is the norm in marketing and consumer research, yet the dynamics of academic cooperation are poorly understood. The aim of this paper is to probe the sociology of collaboration within marketing scholarship by means of a detailed case study of the seminal consumer odyssey. Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents a history of the consumer odyssey based on a range of secondary sources. Findings – The consumer odyssey, one of many collaborate circles in marketing thought, was a seminal moment in the development of marketing research. Practical implications – This paper encourages reflection on the dynamics of collaboration and the collegial character of marketing scholarship. Also, the paper has implications for institutional policy, for example the RAE, which measures research as an individual endeavour. Originality/value – This paper presents a rare reflection on the social dynamics of marketing scholarship. Although it focuses on the interpretive research tradition within consumer research, its findings are relevant to every marketing academic, regardless of their philosophical bent, empirical concern or methodological preference.