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The green identity formation process in organic consumer communities: Environmental activism and consumer resistance

Artur Saraiva (School of Economics and Management, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal)
Emília Fernandes (School of Economics and Management, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal)
Moritz von Schwedler (School of Economics and Management, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 12 February 2020

Issue publication date: 20 March 2020

976

Abstract

Purpose

The market system and a materialistic lifestyle have contributed to some of the environmental and social problems that currently affect the world. However, only a few consumers are willing to express ecological oriented consumption. This study aims to analyse how organic food consumers build a green identity, as well as the new expressions that arise from this identity construction.

Design/methodology/approach

A hermeneutical approach was adopted to address the narratives of 31 frequent consumers of organic products motivated by environmental issues. The narratives were collected through the interview method, which was further complemented by participant observation.

Findings

The following five phases of identity formation were identified: consciousness, gathering, negotiation, stabilisation and sharing. By looking at the different identity stages, it becomes visible how organic consumption and pro-environmental behaviours act as transformative practices, promoting ecological activism and fortifying a green identity.

Originality/value

This study extends the “processual theory of identity” by analysing how organic products help shape consumer practices and their lifestyle. Moreover, a contribution is provided on how we can build an ecological citizenship by reducing consumption and also by adopting alternative practices of consumption.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was conducted as part of the PhD thesis of the first author, having received no specific grant from any funding agency.

Citation

Saraiva, A., Fernandes, E. and von Schwedler, M. (2020), "The green identity formation process in organic consumer communities: Environmental activism and consumer resistance", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 69-86. https://doi.org/10.1108/QMR-05-2018-0048

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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