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Conflicting Values of Ethical Consumption in Diverse Worlds: A Cultural Approach


Journal of Consumer Culture

Published online on


This paper examines the plurality of ethical consumption and aims to illustrate how consumers cope with its complexity in the context of everyday food consumption. This study seeks to outline the tensions that consumers inevitably face when pursuing ethical choices and to shed light on the various ways in which they solve these tensions in the rhythms of everyday life. The research applies Boltanski and Thévenot's theory of orders of worth as an interpretive framework. The research data has been collected from Finnish online discussion forums in which consumers debate various aspects of ethical food consumption. The analysis indicates that the participants in the discussions recognize various understandings of ethical consumption that may be accompanied by insecurities about the ‘right’ ones. However, the research suggests that consumers are able to solve fundamental tensions in ethical food consumption by carrying out different types of practices.