Understanding Ethical Luxury Consumption Through Practice Theories: A Study of Fine Jewellery Purchases

Journal of Business Ethics 145 (3):525-543 (2017)
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Abstract

This paper builds on existing research investigating CSR and ethical consumption within luxury contexts, and makes several contributions to the literature. First, it addresses existing knowledge gaps by exploring the ways in which consumers perform ethical luxury purchases of fine jewellery through interpretive research. Second, the paper is the first to examine such issues of consumer ethics by extending the application of theories of practice to a luxury product context, and by building on Magaudda’s :15–36, 2011) circuit of practice framework. This is significant in that, to date, consumer research using practice theories has focused mainly on routine and habitual practices. Our findings and discussion provide an analysis of intentional and less intentional ethical consumer performances within the interconnected nexus of activities of consumers’ fine jewellery consumption practice, where meanings, understandings and intelligibility of social phenomena are worked through the various activities that shape such a practice. Finally, the paper concludes with significant managerial and policy-related implications, as our extended circuit of practice analysis conveys that if ethics and sustainability dimensions are to be embedded in fine jewellery consumption practice, they must first be made an intrinsic part of the nexus of the social and material environment of trading and consumption places.

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Carlos Bueno Ferreira
Universidade Federal de Santa Maria