Negotiating virtue and vice: Articulations of lay conceptions of health and sustainability in social media conversations around natural beverages

Tien Ee Dominic YEO*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prior studies have suggested that despite increasing sustainability awareness, many consumers are confused about the impact of green products on their health and the environment. Unlike those studies that privilege professional discourse and adopt unrealistic presumptions of rationality and morality, this article showcases consumers as active co-producers of value and meanings. Using netnography, it analyzes social media conversations around Naked Juice and Innocent smoothies-two products marketed as healthy, all-natural, and environmentally sustainable beverages. The findings reveal a baseline picture of the products' virtues of healthiness feeling (hedonic) and holistic health image (symbolic). The article illustrates how this moral conception was dynamically constructed and transformed in the course of consumers' communicative practices. It proposes three discursive strategies by which consumers negotiate the nature and boundaries of good and bad choices vis-à-vis the products: highlighting (separating virtue from vice), balancing (reconciling virtue and vice), and resisting (reconstructing virtue as vice).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-57
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Communication
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • consumer narratives
  • halo effect
  • moral judgments
  • natural products
  • netnography
  • social media

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