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The impossibility of ethical consumption

Nixon, Elizabeth



In this accessibly written book, Devinney, Augur and Eckhardt pool their differing disciplinary expertise to deliver a slap of realism to research on ethical consumerism. As scholars of strategy, information systems and marketing, the authors take aim at the hysteria of research purporting to show evidence of ethical consumers and large-scale demand for socially responsible products and services. Since so-called ethical products – or at least those marketed as such – are generally seen to have failed in the marketplace, the book sets out to investigate this discrepancy at the level of the individual consumer and their product choices. The bulk of this seven-chapter book therefore investigates 'ordinary' consumers' consideration (or lack thereof) of the social features of products through a mixed methodology in different countries. The authors collate quantitative experimental investigation of individuals' decision-making processes with reports from interpretive research on consumers' rationalizations (chapters 3-6 and on the DVD which accompanies the book). Perhaps because of the philosophical tensions of mixed method work or possibly as a result of the multiple authorship, for me the book lacks some overall coherence and strength of message. As a result, the promise of the powerful argument captured in the book's arresting title is only partially delivered.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2014
Journal Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization
Print ISSN 2052-1499
Publisher Ephemera Editorial Collective
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 1
Pages 240-264
APA6 Citation Nixon, E. (2014). The impossibility of ethical consumption. Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization, 14(1), 240-264
Publisher URL
Additional Information Review of

Devinney, T.M., Augur, P., and G.M. Eckhardt (2010) The Myth of the Ethical Consumer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (PB, pp. 240, £24.99, ISBN 9780521 74755 4)


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