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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Brand activism: Towards a better understanding in the light of the “Economies of Worth” theory

Published: May 25, 2021


Alexandre NASSAR, IAE Paris-Sorbonne, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; Géraldine Michel, IAE Paris-Sorbonne, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; Valérie Zeitoun, IAE Paris-Sorbonne, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne


Nowadays brands apply more intense pro-social practices. Even if we identify more of the insights into these strategies, there is not enough existing research concerning their perception by consumers. In order to understand better how the consumers react regarding the brands' activism, this research seeks to look inside the “Economies of Worth” theory (Boltanski & Thevenot, 1991). Based on this theoretical framework and on a qualitative study conducted with 12 consumers, our research shows two forms of criticism of brand activism: illegitimacy and opportunism. Beyond these criticisms, this research highlights two processes of justification (legitimation and relativization) that help the consumers to justify the brand activism as well as the interweaving between the market world and the civic world.