Consumers as ecological citizens in clothing markets
M.Sc. (Bus.Adm.) MA Annu Markkula’s dissertation on the subject of marketing ”Consumers as Ecological Citizens in Clothing Markets” will be examined at the Aalto University School of Economics on Friday, 1 April 2011.
Markkula’s doctoral dissertation, situated in the research traditions of cultural consumer research and social marketing, investigates consumers’ position as ecological citizens in consumer culture. The monograph-form dissertation reveals assumptions about political and moral agency implied in the consumer position. Of particular interest are the perspectives that the concept of ecological citizenship can open up for addressing consumers in the field of sustainability-related social marketing. The empirical material of the study consists of consumer interviews on consumption and clothing markets.
Consumers have been given power and responsibility in sustainable development
Consumers are often said to have power to influence sustainable development by their choices. This view has been prevalent in the scientific literature on marketing. In recent years, increasing attention has been placed on the influence that consumers can have on sustainable development. Markkula’s study addresses the kinds of choices that are available for consumers and how they may have influence on sustainable development.
Consumption should be addressed from a broader perspective
Markkula’s study adds knowledge on the practical challenges that consumers can face. The study sheds light on how consumers are supposed to consume in order to keep the economy and welfare society up and running. As a result of this and other complexities that the study identifies, it is not necessarily self-evident how consumers can advance sustainable development. In addition, the study highlights the multiple meanings associated with consumption in contemporary society. Markkula emphasises that understanding the meanings of consumption is important as these meanings can also provide support to the goals of sustainable development.
Attention to cultural practices
A central conclusion of the study is that it is important to place attention to the cultural practices that enable and constrain consumers’ action. It is generally assumed that consumers striving for more sustainable lifestyles would be motivated enough to find more information on their own, to process information about the environmental impact of products, to reject aesthetic values, and to invest more time in making consumption choices. On the other hand, it is also widely emphasised that an easy access to products and services, the ease of shopping, and aesthetic pleasures are essential for contemporary consumers and hence for the competitiveness of companies. Markkula suggests that it would be important for both commercial and social marketing scholars and practitioners to critically investigate their own role in shaping the possibilities for choice available to consumers in the context of sustainability challenges.
The public defense starts at 12 PM in Stora Enso Hall in the Chydenia Building at the Aalto University School of Economics (Runeberginkatu 22–24). Professor Annamma Joy (University of British Columbia) and Research Professor Eva Heiskanen (National Consumer Research Centre) act as the opponents. Professor Johanna Moisander acts as the custos. The dissertation is available for purchase at KY Bookstore in the main building of the Aalto University School of Economics (Runeberginkatu 14-16). Media representatives may enquire about free copies from the Aalto University School of Economics Marketing and Communications Services (email viestinta-econ [at] aalto [dot] fi, tel. +358 9 470 38621).
Annu Markkula, email firstname.lastname(at)aalto.fi, tel. +358 40 524 88 05
KTM MA Annu Markkulan markkinoinnin aineeseen kuuluva väitöskirja ”Consumers as Ecological Citizens in Clothing Markets” tarkastetaan Aalto-yliopiston kauppakorkeakoulussa perjantaina 1.4.2011, klo 12:15, Chydenia-rakennus, Stora Enso -sali (Runeberginkatu 22–24).