Ertz, M., Lecompte, A., Durif, F., «It’s not my fault, I am in the right! Exploration of neutralization in the justification of the use of a controversial technological collaborative consumption service», Technological Forecasting & Social Change.134: 254-264, 2018.
It’s not my fault, I am in the right! Exploration of neutralization in the justification of the use of a controversial technological collaborative consumption service
Community-based platforms (CBPs) such as Uber and Airbnb are increasingly prevalent in modern society. Inherent disintermediation and informality render these web-based systems especially attractive in the eyes of consumers, while exacerbating old problems and spawning new challenges. This study posits CBPs as ethically and morally questionable, and thus as controversial consumption schemes. Drawing on the neutralization theory research stream, this study seeks to identify how supporters and users justify the existence of controversial consumption systems such as CBPs. Our results show that, to justify CBPs, supporters and users both tend to depend heavily on neutralization techniques such as appealing to higher loyalties, condemnation of condemners, denial of victims, denial of responsibility and invocation of normalcy. Interestingly, these techniques are used in conjunction with non-neutralization techniques to defend controversial collaborative services such as Uber.