Kauppakorkeakoulun julkaisuportaali
Aalto-yliopiston kauppakorkeakoulun gradujen tiedot nyt Aaltodocissa: Aaltodoc-julkaisuarkisto
Kauppakorkeakoulu | Markkinoinnin ja johtamisen laitos | Markkinointi | 2009
Tutkielman numero: 12188
Ethical consumption as an identity project - A narrative approach to Finnish ethical consumers’ identity construction
Tekijä: Romu, Heidi
Otsikko: Ethical consumption as an identity project - A narrative approach to Finnish ethical consumers’ identity construction
Vuosi: 2009  Kieli: eng
Laitos: Markkinoinnin ja johtamisen laitos
Aine: Markkinointi
Asiasanat: markkinointi; marketing; kulutus; consumption; kuluttajat; consumers; yhteiskuntavastuu; corporate responsibility; identiteetti; identity; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour; tarina; narrative; haastattelu; interview
Sivumäärä: 114
» hse_ethesis_12188.pdf pdf  koko: 996 KB (1019646)
Avainsanat: ethical consumption; postmodern consumer; identity; narrative; life story interview
Objective of the study

Aim of this study is to explore Finnish ethical consumers: Their values, preferences and habits. I will view ethical consumption as an identity project, that is to say, I will study how the consumer of the postmodern times constructs his or her identity by making ethical consumption choices.

Research method

This research is qualitative in its nature. I conducted six life story interviews with Finnish young adults, who declare themselves ethical consumers. This open-ended and in-depth research method enabled me to obtain true understanding of my informants’ behavior as ethical consumers.

In organizing the transcribed interview data I used the methods of narrative analysis. I closely examined the interviewees’ stories, and found common patterns of meaning in them. Based on these meanings, I elaborated five different themes and analyzed the data according to them.


The main findings of the research are fivefold as there were five emerging themes. First, the ethical consumers appeared to be ethically oriented from their teenage years, and ethical consumerism is a lifelong project to them. Second, the ethical consumers share the critique of the consumer society and ‘throw-away’ culture. They refuse to participate in the consumption hysteria and, instead, try to make sustainable consumption choices whenever it is possible. Third, ethical consumption acts as a way of social bonding. The ethical consumers fulfill their need of belongingness and are seeking acceptance from their peers through their ethical behavior. Fourth, the ethical consumers are striving for harmony with the surrounding reality: They try to respect the nature as well as appraise both human and animal rights in all their actions. Fifth, the ethical consumers have a strong will to influence things, and they believe in making a difference by their ethical action.

Together these five themes contribute to the ethical consumers’ identity construction. The ultimate goal in the ethical consumers’ identity projects is to become a better consumer, even a better person. One’s identity as ethical consumer is one of the individual’s many identities, and this identity is developing all the time.


Ethical consumption, postmodern consumer, identity, narrative, life story interview
Verkkojulkaisut ovat tekijänoikeuden alaista aineistoa. Teokset ovat vapaasti luettavissa ja tulostettavissa henkilökohtaista käyttöä varten. Aineiston käyttö kaupallisiin tarkoituksiin on kielletty.