Consumption Practices: A Virtue Ethics Approach

Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol 24, No 4, pp. 509‐531, 2014

36 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2015

Date Written: July 1, 2014


Ethical research on consumption has focused for the most part on the obligations, principles and values guiding consumers’ actions and reasons for action. Doing so, it has concerned itself mostly with such bounded contexts as voluntary simplifiers, anti-consumption movements or so-called ‘ethical consumers,’ thereby fostering an artificial opposition between ethical and non-ethical consumption. This paper proposes virtue ethics as a more apt conceptual framework for the ethical analysis of consumption in that it takes into account the developmental dynamic triggered by engagement in consumption practices. We build on MacIntyre’s (2007) goods-virtues-practices-institutions framework and Beabout’s (2012) concept of a domain-relative practice to argue that, in engaging in consumption activities, agents may pursue goods internal to practices, further their individual life narratives and contribute to the good of their communities, thus developing virtues that perfect themselves both as consumers and as ethical agents.

Keywords: Consumer ethics, Virtue ethics, MacIntyre, Domain-relative Practice, Consumer Identity projects

Suggested Citation

Garcia-Ruiz, Pablo and Rodriguez-Lluesma, Carlos, Consumption Practices: A Virtue Ethics Approach (July 1, 2014). Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol 24, No 4, pp. 509‐531, 2014, Available at SSRN: or

Pablo Garcia-Ruiz (Contact Author)

University of Zaragoza ( email )

Gran Via 2
Zaragoza, 50005

Carlos Rodriguez-Lluesma

IESE Business School ( email )

Camino del Cerro del Águila
Madrid, 28023

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