Consuming worker exploitation? Accounts and justifications for consumer (in)action to modern slavery

Carrington, M., Chatzidakis, A. and Shaw, D. (2021) Consuming worker exploitation? Accounts and justifications for consumer (in)action to modern slavery. Work, Employment and Society, 35(3), pp. 432-450. (doi: 10.1177/0950017020926372)

220205.pdf - Accepted Version



While research has examined the plight of vulnerable workers, the role of consumers who drive demand for slave-based services and products has been largely neglected. This is an important gap given both historical evidence of the effectiveness of 18th and 19th century anti-slavery consumer activism and recent attempts to regulate slavery through harnessing consumer power, such as the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015. This article draws on data from in-depth interviews with 40 consumers, to identify their understanding of modern slavery, before revealing the neutralising and legitimising techniques they use to justify their (in)action. Our findings contribute to, and extend, neutralisation theory by exploring its applicability in this unique context. We also position techniques of legitimisation as central to understanding how modern slavery is tolerated through a variety of discursive and institutional factors.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research has been funded by British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants (SG170235) and Royal Holloway’s University of London Research Strategy Fund.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Chatzidakis, Dr Andreas and Shaw, Professor Deirdre
Authors: Carrington, M., Chatzidakis, A., and Shaw, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Work, Employment and Society
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1469-8722
Published Online:08 July 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Work, Employment and Society 35(3): 432-450
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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