Explaining Consumption Norms
In the previous chapter I applied an interpretative, emic approach with the aim of understanding what consumption norms are about and how they are made sense of by the people embracing them in everyday life. I showed that consumption norms draw on cosmologies that integrate ethical ideas of good life and justice as well as pragmatic beliefs concerning how the world is. These cosmologies are very personal; in a way they are foundational to people’s moral sense of the self. Yet they are not individual preferences, but are drawn on cosmologies shared by others. This is why they do not differ randomly and we are able to observe commonalities across consumption norms of different people. This suggests that factors external to the individual are also at play in the formation of consumption norms. To identify these factors requires taking an etic approach that seeks to explain, rather than to interpretatively understand, consumption norms. This is the aim of the current chapter.
KeywordsCultural Resource Consumption Norm Powerful Group Symbolic Power Private Norm
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