25 Oca Studying the ethical consumer: A review of research
We suggest several interlinked areas of study have, to very different extents, developed to address the general area of the ethics of consumption:
- Consumer ethics mostly in relation to ‘shopping misbehaviour’ were reviewed by Vitell (2003) and have generated a considerable range of cross-cultural comparisons.
- Consumer resistance to marketing efforts (Holt, 1997; Kozinets and Handelman, 2004).
- Consumption morality and the issue of sustainability interlinked with a proliferation of individual and semi-organised projects such as downshifting, voluntary simplicity and slow food (Parkins and Craig, 2006; Schor, 1985, 1998).
- Corporate, collective and social entrepreneurial efforts in relation to creating ethical consumption opportunities and spaces (Crane, 2005).
- The expert academic perspectives on the ethics of consumption (Crocker and Linden, 1998).
- Ethical consumption as a conscious project of individuals and small groups (Harrison et al., 2005).
Although the focus of this special issue is on ethical consumption as an individual or semi-organised project, there are no clear boundaries between these areas. Additionally, ethical consumption remains an under-examined aspect of consumer behaviour. As such, therefore, we will draw briefly on these other areas of study and other disciplines and in particular geography, sociology and psychology. In doing so we will discuss the various themes that have developed within the study of ethical consumption and then introduce, and locate, the papers in this special issue.