Ethical Living: Relinking Ethics and Consumption Through Care in Chile and Brazil
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Mainstream conceptualizations of ‘ethical consumption’ equate the notion with conscious, individual, market‐mediated choices motivated by ethical or political aims that transcend ordinary concerns. Drawing on recent sociology and anthropology of consumption literature on the links between ordinary ethics and ethical consumption, this article discusses some of the limitations of this conceptualization. Using data from 32 focus groups conducted in Chile and Brazil, we propose a conceptualization of ethical consumption that does not centre on individual, market‐mediated choices but understands it at the level of practical outcomes, which we refer to as different forms of ‘ethical living’. To do that, we argue, we need to depart from the deontological understanding of ethics that underpins mainstream approaches to ethical consumption and adopt a more consequentialist view focusing on ethical outcomes. We develop these points through describing one particular ordinary moral regime that seemed to be predominant in participants’ accounts of ethics and consumption in both Chile and Brazil: one that links consumption and ethics through care. We show that the moral regime of care leads to ‘ethical outcomes’, such as energy saving or limiting overconsumption, yet contrary to the mainstream view of ethical consumption emphasizing politicized choice expressed through markets, these result from following ordinary ethics, often through routines of practices.
CitationAriztia, T., Agloni, N. and Pellandini‐Simányi, L. (2018), Ethical living: relinking ethics and consumption through care in Chile and Brazil. The British Journal of Sociology, 69: 391-411. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-4446.12265
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