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Unstable identities: stable unsustainability

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  • Lars Strannegård

    (Department of Management and Organization, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden)

  • Peter Dobers

    (School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden)

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    Abstract

    The identity concept has emerged as a key analytical concept in the social sciences in the past decades. In both scientific accounts and everyday use, the identity concept has traditionally been seen as something that individuals possess. This view has however been heavily criticized by a social identity strand of social science, where identity is a matter of a negotiation where different social roles are learned in relations with others. The relational view of identities creates some serious problems for the sustainability challenge. In a world of relational identities, individuals are engaged in identity-creating interactions every day. Key problems are that the interactions, in urban environments, are highly commercialized; consumption cues are emotionally based and speak to our senses, and outnumber the competing cues several times over. Sustainable lifestyles are thus very fragile. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/sd.459
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Sustainable Development.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 119-122

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:18:y:2010:i:3:p:119-122

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    Web page: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1099-1719

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    1. Victoria Hurth, 2010. "Creating sustainable identities: the significance of the financially affluent self," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(3), pages 123-134.
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