Catering to Otherness : Levinasian Consumer Ethics at Restaurant Day

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Hietanen , J & Sihvonen , A 2021 , ' Catering to Otherness : Levinasian Consumer Ethics at Restaurant Day ' , Journal of Business Ethics , vol. 168 , no. 2 , pp. 261–276 .

Title: Catering to Otherness : Levinasian Consumer Ethics at Restaurant Day
Author: Hietanen, Joel; Sihvonen, Antti
Contributor organization: Centre for Consumer Society Research
Date: 2021-01
Language: eng
Number of pages: 16
Belongs to series: Journal of Business Ethics
ISSN: 0167-4544
Abstract: There is a rich tradition of inquiry in consumer research into how collective consumption manifests in various forms and contexts. While this literature has shown how group cohesion prescribes ethical and moral positions, our study explores how ethicality can arise from consumers and their relations in a more emergent fashion. To do so, we present a Levinasian perspective on consumer ethics through a focus on Restaurant Day, a global food carnival that is organized by consumers themselves. Our ethnographic findings highlight a non-individualistic way of approaching ethical subjectivity that translates into acts of catering to the needs of other people and the subversion of extant legislation by foregrounding personal responsibility. These findings show that while consumer gatherings provide participants a license to temporarily subvert existing roles, they also allow the possibility of ethical autonomy when the mundane rules of city life are renegotiated. These sensibilities also create ‘ethical surplus’, which is an affective excess of togetherness. In the Levinasian register, Restaurant Day thus acts as an inarticulable ‘remainder’—a trace of the possibility of being able to live otherwise alongside one another in city contexts.
Subject: 512 Business and Management
Collective consumption
Consumer ethics
Ethical surplus
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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