University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 9.12.2016 M.Sc.(Econ) M.A. Maria Pecoraro (The Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics, Marketing)

Start date: Dec 09, 2016 12:00 PM

End date: Dec 09, 2016 03:00 PM

Location: Seminaarinmäki, Ruu D104

M.Sc.(Econ) M.A. Maria Pecoraro defends her doctoral dissertation in Marketing "Eettinen kuluttaminen kulutuskulttuurissa" (Ethical consumption in consumer culture). Opponent Professor Johanna Moisander (Aalto University) and custos Professor Outi Uusitalo (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in Finnish.


The aim of this dissertation is to contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the various meanings of ethical consumption constructed in consumer culture, especially from consumers’ viewpoint. Ethical consumption embraces a broad range of tendencies within the current consumer culture related to global ecological and social concerns, values, and alternative consumption practices. The main task is to explore how the meanings of ethical consumption are constructed in consumers’ everyday life contexts and how people make sense of ethical consumption. These studies explore the phenomenon of ethical consumption from the perspectives of contradictory interpretations, practices, spatiality, experientality, and aesthetics.

The dissertation contributes to the research on the complexity of ethical consumption, providing an interpretation that offers contradictions on ethical consumption associated with cultural factors rather than individual factors. Consumers are able to navigate between multiple and conflicting meanings of ethical consumption and unravel these contradictions by invoking different kinds of consumption practices that serve as situational and contextual compromises. The study also contributes to the spatio-material understanding of ethical consumption by showing that the meanings of responsibility are constructed in relation to consumers’ experiences in retail environments. Thus, the situational, spatial, social, and material aspects have an important influence on how the meanings of ethical consumption

are discursively constructed in a given context. The third contribution highlights the role of aesthetic knowledge in ethical consumption by maintaining that these two phenomena are interlinked. The study suggests that ethical consumption embodies aesthetic, hedonistic, and care-related characteristics, in addition to political and knowledge-based features that have been recognised in the previous research.

The results of this dissertation emphasise that the construction of ethical-consumption discourses in the marketplaces and beyond is essentially influenced by culture and socio-material contexts. The interpretations and meanings of ethical consumption do not merely arise from abstract discussions, moral reflections, or rational calculations, but emerge similarly from real-world material contexts and places where consumers and commodities come together.

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Maria Pecoraro