Virtue of Consumption

Andreas Chatzidakis, Sally Hibbert, Darryn Mittusis, and Andrew Smith
Publication Date: 
All consumer activities have an integral ethical component and consumers’ are frequently found to behave in ways that contradict their professed ethical concerns. The paper explores this discrepancy with reference to “techniques of neutralization” (Sykes and Matza 1957); i.e. five rationalizations that can mitigate the negative impact on self-image stemming from norm violations.
Through a qualitative study, the research examines the applicability of the concept of neutralization and the five techniques in particular, across a range of consumer behaviours. It provides preliminary evidence regarding the capacity of those techniques to soften or eliminate the negative impact that disengagement from ethical concerns can have on a consumer’s self-image.