Ethical Consumption: Practices and Identities: A Realist Approach, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ethical Consumption: Practices and Identities

A Realist Approach, 1st Edition

By Yana Manyukhina


184 pages

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pub: 2019-12-19
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This book engages with the topic of ethical consumption and applies a critical-realist approach to explore the process of becoming and being an ethical consumer. By integrating Margaret Archer’s theory of identity formation and Christian Coff’s work on food ethics, it develops a theoretical account explicating the generative mechanism that gives rise to ethical consumer practices and identities. The second part of the book presents the findings from a qualitative study with self-perceived ethical food consumers to demonstrate the fit between the proposed theoretical mechanism and the actual experiences of ethically committed consumers. Through integrating agency-focused and socio-centric perspectives on consumer behaviour, the book develops a more comprehensive and balanced approach to conceptualising and studying consumption processes and phenomena.


"Yana Manyukhina's beautifully clear book will be of value to all concerned with the politics of food and consumerism. It analyses not only how people develop as ethical food consumers but also, perhaps more crucially, why they make the life-style changes that are so urgently needed to promote sustainable ways of living."

Priscilla Alderson, Professor Emerita, University College London

Table of Contents




Part I Theorising the Ethical Consumer

1. Analysing Consumption: Toward an Integrated Approach

2. Ethical Consumption and Critical Realism

3. Ethical Consumption as a Reflexive Life Project

Part II Studying the Ethical Consumer

4. Studying Consumption: A Realist Approach

5. Meeting the Ethical Consumers

6. Becoming an Ethical Consumer: Moral Concerns, Emotional Commentaries, and Reflexive Deliberations

7. Being an Ethical Consumer: Exercising Moral Agency in the Contexts of Objective Reality

8. The Inner Self in the Outer World: The Social Life of an Ethical Consumer



About the Author

Yana Manyukhina gained her PhD in Sociology and Social Policy in 2016 from the University of Leeds, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Critical Realism

Critical Realism is a broad movement within philosophy and social science. It is a movement that began in British philosophy and sociology following the founding work of Roy Bhaskar, Margaret Archer and others. Critical Realism emerged from the desire to realise an adequate realist philosophy of science, social science, and of critique. Against empiricism, positivism and various idealisms (interpretivism, radical social constructionism), Critical Realism argues for the necessity of ontology. The pursuit of ontology is the attempt to understand and say something about ‘the things themselves’ and not simply about our beliefs, experiences, or our current knowledge and understanding of those things. Critical Realism also argues against the implicit ontology of the empiricists and idealists of events and regularities, reducing reality to thought, language, belief, custom, or experience. Instead Critical Realism advocates a structural realist and causal powers approach to natural and social ontology, with a focus upon social relations and process of social transformation.

Important movements within Critical Realism include the morphogenetic approach developed by Margaret Archer; Critical Realist economics developed by Tony Lawson; as well as dialectical Critical Realism (embracing being, becoming and absence) and the philosophy of metaReality (emphasising priority of the non-dual) developed by Roy Bhaskar.

For over thirty years, Routledge has been closely associated with Critical Realism and, in particular, the work of Roy Bhaskar, publishing well over fifty works in, or informed by, Critical Realism (in series including Critical Realism: Interventions; Ontological Explorations; New Studies in Critical Realism and Education). These have all now been brought together under one series dedicated to Critical Realism.

The Centre for Critical Realism is the advisory editorial board for the series. If you would like to know more about the Centre for Critical Realism, or to submit a book proposal, please visit

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General