Our research centre

The International Centre for Anti-consumption Research (ICAR) comprises an international network of marketing academics, practitioners, and social scientists who share a common interest in anti-consumption.

What is ICAR?

The International Centre for Anti-consumption Research (ICAR), hosted by the University of Auckland Business School, comprises a network of marketing academics, practitioners, and social scientists from various universities located in New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Members come from diverse yet complementary backgrounds and all share a common interest in anti-consumption. ICAR was conceived by Michael S W Lee in 2005 as a strategic response to the growing desire from international academics to collaborate on anti-consumption related research.

What is anti-consumption?

Anti-consumption means against consumption, yet the word is not synonymous with alternative, conscientious, ethical, sustainable, or green consumption. These terms describe various forms of pro-social consumption; anti-consumption, on the other hand, focuses on phenomena that researchers traditionally have ignored.

Consumer research predominately focuses on the approach aspects of consumer behaviours and attitudes; for instance, why people choose a product or brand. In contrast, anti-consumption research focuses on why consumers avoid certain products or brands. Although a complete understanding of our consumption-driven society requires study of approach and avoidance phenomenon, the latter has received less focus.

Anti-consumption need not be contrary to business success or enhanced quality of life, nor need it interfere with societal and business progress. Enhanced quality of life depends on improving both the quantity and quality of consumption; thus, anti-consumption is not an inherent economic threat. Business practitioners and academicians should view acts of anti-consumption as opportunities to learn about ourselves, our products, our practices, and our society.

Physicians who understand health but not illness cannot treat their patients successfully; similarly, business scholars who only study successful companies may never understand what causes unsuccessful companies. Therefore, study of anti-consumption completes our understanding of consumers and society.

Our research philosophy

  • ICAR encourages a pluralistic approach to exploring anti-consumption attitudes and behaviour.
  • ICAR supports all research regardless of its relativistic or positivistic philosophical base, quantitative or qualitative focus.