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EMAC 2022 Annual

Letting go to be me: Carving a unique path of ethical consumerism through Danshari

Published: May 24, 2022


Charis Li, Grenoble Ecole de Management; Xiao-xiao Liu, Xiamen University; Jun Ye, Xiamen University; Siyu Zheng, Xiamen University; Chien Yu Lin, Xiamen University; Songyin Cai, Xiamen University


Danshari, a home decluttering method originated in Japan, has become popular in China as a way for consumers to combat negative impacts of the growing consumerism. We collected online sharing and personal interviews about Chinese consumers’ Danshari experiences. Using a grounded theory approach, we identify motivations, processes, and outcomes of Danshari practice. We find that Danshari enables individuals to detach from both material possessions and nonmaterial burdens, improves self-identity clarity, and cultivates more environmentally friendly consumption patterns. By linking consumption and disposal with self-concept, our investigation highlights a self-concept erosion and reshaping process that accompanies consumers’ Danshari journey, through which individuals arrive at their unique solutions towards ethical consumption. These findings contribute to the literature on pragmatist ethical consumerism in the emerging economy and the possession/dispossession-self relationship.