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Title: The construction of morality in discourses of tourism consumption
Author: Caruana, Robert
ISNI:       0000 0001 2420 0638
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis investigates consumption from the perspective of morality. It looks at how fundamental aspects of morality are shaped by discourses of tourism consumption. The decision to examine consumption from a moral perspective was largely motivated by initial questions about the seemingly paradoxical nature of being a 'good' person and a 'good' consumer at the same time: one concept seemingly underpinned by a sense of responsibility and a regard for citizenship and humanity, whilst the other appears entrenched in a discourse of individualism, self-interest and free choice. The thesis continued to be motivated in this way, driven by the need to understand how the cultural texts produced for consumers about the products and services they consume, simultaneously shaped core aspects of morality such as choice and harm. How, for instance, was it possible that products and services known to be harmful to both society and the environment - e.g. cars, tourism, alcohol- could be interpreted as morally legitimacy and unproblematic? More specifically, what role do the texts produced for consumers, e.g. adverts, brochures, magazines etc, play in expressing the boundaries of morality in such situations? Moreover, in light of the rise in the number ofethically augmented products and services available, for example, in supermarkets, travel agents and banks, it seemed appropriate to consider the extent to which these ostensibly moral features of the market expressed aspects of morality in a meaningful sense of the word. The thesis begins with a 'search' for morality in the literature on consumption, finding that the notion of morality underpins a number of different areas of consumer research. In addition to morally explicit terminology such as consumer rights, ethical consumption and fair trade, a conception of morality is also reievan! to academic critiques of consumption, research into ritualistic behaviour such as gift-giving as well as studies of consumer values that define sets ofvirtuous practices for groups of consumers. The morality and consumption literature is found to comprise a number of different discussions that often assume, rather than explicitly expose, the notion of morality. The critical nature of the review exposes the nature and scope of morality as depicted within the various discussions whilst, at the same time, throwing light on the underlying motivations that drive a particular stream ofresearch. This exercise provides a picture of a broader conception of morality and consumption, calling for a reframing of morality as a discourse about right and wrong, good and evil. It is argued that discourse provides an appropriate framework for the study as it can suitably deal with the multiplicity evidenced in the concept of morality and its implicit application in the consumption literature. Following this, a discursive conception of morality through which to begin to interpret social processes of consumption is outlined. Acknowledged as the fundamental basis of research purporting to examine consumption from some kind of moral perspective, the notion morality is explored through a critical review of the mainstream literature on morality. Five dominant paradigmatic conceptions of morality are discerned from the mainstream disciplines ofphilosophy, psychology, sociology and economics. In this thesis each perspective is examined and their constituent elements deconstructed and tabularised giving rise to three basic moral themes relevant to an interpretation of consumption morality - harm, freedom and choice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Not available Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available