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Theories of practice -- New inspiration for ecological economic studies on consumption


  • Røpke, Inge


The dynamics behind ever-increasing consumption have long been a core issue of ecological economics. Studies on this topic have traditionally drawn not only on insights from economics, but also from such disciplines as sociology, anthropology and psychology. In recent years, a practice theory approach has emerged in sociological consumption studies, as part of a general wave of renewed interest in practice theory emanating from a desire to move beyond such dominant dualisms as the structure-actor opposition in sociology. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the practice theory approach in relation to studies of everyday life, domestic practices and consumption, and to argue that this approach can be fruitful for ecological economics and other fields interested in the environmental aspects of consumption. The paper emphasizes the immense challenge involved in promoting sustainable consumption, and the need for collective efforts supported by research into the co-evolution of domestic practices, systems of provision, supply chains and production.

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  • Røpke, Inge, 2009. "Theories of practice -- New inspiration for ecological economic studies on consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2490-2497, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:10:p:2490-2497

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dosi, Giovanni, 1993. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 102-103, April.
    2. Toke Christensen & Mirjam Godskesen & Kirsten Gram-Hanssen & Maj-Britt Quitzau & Inge Røpke, 2007. "Greening the Danes? Experience with consumption and environment policies," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 91-116, June.
    3. Martin Hand & Elizabeth Shove & Dale Southerton, 2005. "Explaining Showering: a Discussion of the Material, Conventional, and Temporal Dimensions of Practice," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 10(2).
    4. Schor, Juliet B., 2005. "Prices and quantities: Unsustainable consumption and the global economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 309-320, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kate Power & Oksana Mont, 2010. "The Role of Formal and Informal Forces in Shaping Consumption and Implications for Sustainable Society: Part II," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(8), pages 1-20, August.
    2. Brooks, Jeremy S. & Wilson, Charlie, 2015. "The influence of contextual cues on the perceived status of consumption-reducing behavior," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 108-117.
    3. Suraya Hudson & Naomi Krogman & Mary Beckie, 2016. "Social practices of knowledge mobilization for sustainable food production: nutrition gardening and fish farming in the kolli hills of India," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(3), pages 523-533, June.
    4. Christian Schubert & Andreas Chai, 2012. "Sustainable Consumption and Consumer Sovereignty," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-14, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    5. Ulrich Witt, 2011. "Sustainability and the Problem of Consumption," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2011-16, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    6. Schelly, Chelsea, 2014. "Implementing renewable energy portfolio standards: The good, the bad, and the ugly in a two state comparison," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 543-551.
    7. Martha A. Starr, 2015. "The Economics of Ethical Consumption," Working Papers 2015-01, American University, Department of Economics.
    8. Hélène Joachain & Frédéric Klopfert, 2011. "Emerging trend of complementary currencies systems as policy instrument for environmental purposes: changes ahead?," Working Papers CEB 11-047, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    9. Belay T. Mengistie & Arthur P. J. Mol & Peter Oosterveer, 2017. "Pesticide use practices among smallholder vegetable farmers in Ethiopian Central Rift Valley," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 301-324, February.
    10. Maréchal, Kevin, 2010. "Not irrational but habitual: The importance of "behavioural lock-in" in energy consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 1104-1114, March.
    11. repec:gam:jeners:v:10:y:2017:i:9:p:1332-:d:110846 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Cecilia Solér, 2012. "Conceptualizing Sustainably Produced Food for Promotional Purposes: A Sustainable Marketing Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(3), pages 1-47, March.
    13. Järvensivu, Paavo, 2013. "Transforming market–nature relations through an investigative practice," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 197-205.
    14. Seyfang, Gill, 2010. "Community action for sustainable housing: Building a low-carbon future," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(12), pages 7624-7633, December.
    15. Foxon, Timothy J., 2011. "A coevolutionary framework for analysing a transition to a sustainable low carbon economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(12), pages 2258-2267.
    16. Pothitou, Mary & Hanna, Richard F. & Chalvatzis, Konstantinos J., 2017. "ICT entertainment appliances’ impact on domestic electricity consumption," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 843-853.
    17. Axsen, Jonn & TyreeHageman, Jennifer & Lentz, Andy, 2012. "Lifestyle practices and pro-environmental technology," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 64-74.
    18. Stefan Wahlen & Eva Heiskanen & Kristiina Aalto, 2012. "Endorsing Sustainable Food Consumption: Prospects from Public Catering," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 7-21, March.


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