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Materialiserad moral

Journal article
Authors Niklas Hansson
Christian Fuentes
Published in Kulturella perspektiv - Svensk etnologisk tidsskrift
Volume 25
Issue 2
Pages 6-15
ISSN 1102-7908
Publication year 2016
Published at Centre for Retailing
Centre for Consumer Science
Pages 6-15
Language sv
Keywords ethical consumption, smartphone, apps, consumer models, morality, consumer
Subject categories Business Administration, Ethnology


Ethical consumption, that is, to make certain consumption choices due to personal moral beliefs and values is a growing trend and market. In this article we analyze three ethical smartphone apps developed and marketed in order to help consumers to make ethical product choices: for example, where to find the nearest café selling Fair Trade coffee, whether the salmon in the store is red-listed or if there are any cleaning products that are certified as environmentally friendly. In this text we argue that such digital consumer technologies have some potential to influence consumer actions. The article critically discusses whether and how technologies may shape ethical consumer culture. We conceptualize the smartphone apps and their suggested consumer actions in the form of four "consumer models": the selecting consumer, the status seeking consumer; and the social and productive consumer. The purpose of this article is to analyze the ways that smartphone applications shape ethical consumption in the sense of suggesting particular representations of who an ethical consumer is and how ethical consumption is accomplished. The normative assumptions of these consumer models are discussed. Our analysis build on interviews with app developers, marketing texts, and "object ethnography", i.e. close up readings and examinations of smartphone apps as intentional consumer objects equipped with scripts for consumer.

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