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The magic of ethical brands: interpassivity and the thievish joy of delegated consumption
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School, Management & Organisation.
University of Guelph.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School, Marketing.
2014 (English)In: Ephemera : Theory and Politics in Organization, ISSN 1473-2866, Vol. 14, no 1, 57-80 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Over the past 20 years, ethical brands have risen to prominence. The prevailing discourse implies that this trend has emerged as a result of consumers wanting to make a difference through their consumption. We argue that the popularity of ethical brands is due, at least in part, to their universal appeal, which can be understood by analyzing ethical brand consumption from a perspective beyond marketing and management logic, focusing on hedonistic motivation. Introducing Robert Pfaller’s work on illusions without owners and in particular using the concept of interpassivity, we argue that consumers can derive pleasure in the form of thievish joy (diebische Freude) from consuming ethical brands without believing that their purchase will result in the purported outcomes. We aim to extend the typology of consumer ideologies, as they pertain to ethical consumption, through Pfaller’s conceptualization and offer yet another explanation for consumer motivation beyond peer pressure or impression management. Following Pfaller’s description of interpassive delegation as the magic of the (self-described) civilized man, we call the potential for ethical brands to enable an enjoyment surplus through thievish joy the magic of ethical brands. The paper’s contribution is twofold: first, by linking Pfaller’s conceptualizations to ethical brand consumption we hope to offer a unique and productive way to reflect on brand consumption and second, this paper introduces Pfaller’s original work to the scholarly discourse on consumption and organization studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 14, no 1, 57-80 p.
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-101566OAI: diva2:704210
Available from: 2014-03-11 Created: 2014-03-11 Last updated: 2014-04-01Bibliographically approved

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Walz, MarkusAndéhn, Mikael
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ReferencesLink to record
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