This study investigates the phenomenon of luxury from a consumer perspective, by means of multisited phenomenological inquiry. The findings expand the pervasive view of luxury as accumulation of highly valued goods by offering a transformative perspective of luxury as transforming the life of distant others by giving them valuable philanthropic gifts and thereby ultimately transforming the self of the giver. The paper shows how giving away economic capital (money and time), social capital (networks and influence), and cultural capital (skills and knowledge) to non-related others can provide the giver with a sense of luxury in terms of pleasure, purpose, and connection with humankind. Thus, the findings not only extend the traditional conceptualization of luxury from having to giving, but also challenge current conceptualizations of sharing out as a non-reciprocal pro-social behavior by illustrating how ‘the luxury of giving’ relies on both pro-social and pro-ego consumption rationales, which implicitly include circular reciprocation.
- Societal transformations