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Can Conscious Consumerism Be Conspicuous: The Paradoxes Of Sociocultural Factors Of Consumer Behavior

ФИО студента: Permiakova Valentina

Руководитель: Anna Suleimanova

Кампус/факультет: Faculty of Social Sciences

Программа: Sociology (Bachelor)

Год защиты: 2020

Today we can see the establishment of a new consumer ethic - conscious consumption, the essence of which is to take care of the environment and the person himself by reducing the consumption and using of goods which are produced without the exploitation of people and animals and can be recycled. However, retail industry does not care about the consequences of production but having a lot of branded clothing and often changing the wardrobe are still signs of high financial and social status. In addition, some studies have found that students, especially those from prestigious universities, are most likely to conspicuous consumption. That is why the empirical object of this research are students of Higher School of Economics from Moscow. The HSE University's programs occupy high places in foreign and Russian rankings, but at the same time, HSE is a member of the Association of Green Universities in Russia and supports environmental student organizations. So, the problem is the contradiction between the prestige of conspicuous consumption and the prestige of ethical consumerism at the same time on the example of the students of HSE, Moscow. In this study, we will try to determine whether conspicuous consumption is integrated into ethical consumerism by studying the practice of conspicuous and ethical consumption of HSE students. The study was using mixed methods with ‘qual—QUAN’ strategy, which firstly qualitative data was collected (expert interviews), and then - quantitative data. The questionnaire was developed based on 5 expert interviews. Totally 240 questionnaires were collected. Data analysis was carried out sequentially, with the main role of the quantitative stage. As a result, we have obtained classification of different consumer behavior patterns, description of how in these strategies combine demonstrative and ethical consumption, also we determined factors influencing the involvement in ethical consumerism.

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