Haucke, F. (2016): The Fairphone Case? A Social Movement Or Another Trend to be Followed? Second International Conference of the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI 2016), University of Maine, 2016.
The paper examines the movement potential for the Fairphone company, which applies sustainability characteristics to a smartphone. The presented study delves into the relation of social movement theory and sustainable consumption by determining the effects of civic engagement and transition strategies provided by the Fairphone and the translation of these to its consumers. In order to tackle the question what patterns and dynamics of behavioral change lead towards sustainable consumption, an online survey was conducted to analyze the purchasing reasons and self-reflection of Fairphone users. The questionnaire allowed descriptive statistical analysis as well as qualitative in-depth analysis of N= 403 participants, to investigate whether Fairphone customers see themselves as a part of a broader social movement leading to a more sustainable society or act upon different consumption aspects such as trendiness.
Results indicate that Fairphone community members see themselves as actively involved in the construction of the Fairphone and the related meaning, which might be a source of collective identity. They acknowledge their activism as broader than the merely purchasing of a smartphone, whereby the phone itself is considered as an artifact for personal self-expression.