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Citizen-Consumers as Agents of Change in Globalizing Modernity: The Case of Sustainable Consumption

Author

Listed:
  • Gert Spaargaren

    () (Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands)

  • Peter Oosterveer

    () (Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands)

Abstract

The roles that individuals can adopt, or get assigned, in processes of global environmental change, can be analyzed with the help of three ideal-type forms of commitment: as environmental citizens, as political consumers, and as individual moral agents. We offer a discussion of the three roles in the context of sustainability changes in everyday life practices of consumption. Sociological accounts of (sustainability) transitions are discussed with respect to their treatment of the concept of agency vis à vis the objects, technologies, and infrastructures implied in globalizing consumption practices. Using consumption practices as basic units of analysis helps to avoid individualist and privatized accounts of the role of citizen-consumers in environmental change, while making possible a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between the personal and the planetary in the process of greening everyday life consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Gert Spaargaren & Peter Oosterveer, 2010. "Citizen-Consumers as Agents of Change in Globalizing Modernity: The Case of Sustainable Consumption," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(7), pages 1-22, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:2:y:2010:i:7:p:1887-1908:d:8831
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sue Wing, Ian, 2008. "Explaining the declining energy intensity of the U.S. economy," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 21-49, January.
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    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:7:p:1286-:d:105693 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:gam:jchals:v:7:y:2016:i:1:p:9:d:68194 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Liisa Häikiö, 2014. "Institutionalization of Sustainable Development in Decision-Making and Everyday Life Practices: A Critical View on the Finnish Case," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(9), pages 1-16, August.
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:10:p:1839-:d:114823 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Diana Mincyte, 2012. "How milk does the world good: vernacular sustainability and alternative food systems in post-socialist Europe," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 29(1), pages 41-52, March.
    6. Dixon, Jane & Isaacs, Bronwyn, 2013. "Why sustainable and ‘nutritionally correct’ food is not on the agenda: Western Sydney, the moral arts of everyday life and public policy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 67-76.
    7. 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.
    8. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:5:p:743-:d:97511 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:376-:d:129645 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Niken Prilandita & Benjamin McLellan & Tetsuo Tezuka, 2016. "Modeling Autonomous Decision-Making on Energy and Environmental Management Using Petri-Net: The Case Study of a Community in Bandung, Indonesia," Challenges, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-26, April.
    11. Liu, Wenling & Spaargaren, Gert & Heerink, Nico & Mol, Arthur P.J. & Wang, Can, 2013. "Energy consumption practices of rural households in north China: Basic characteristics and potential for low carbon development," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 128-138.
    12. Huguenin, Ariane & Jeannerat, Hugues, 2017. "Creating change through pilot and demonstration projects: Towards a valuation policy approach," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 624-635.
    13. Schumacher, Ingmar, 2014. "An Empirical Study of the Determinants of Green Party Voting," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 306-318.
    14. Marthe Hårvik Austgulen, 2016. "Environmentally Sustainable Textile Consumption—What Characterizes the Political Textile Consumers?," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 441-466, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    citizen-consumers; social practices; sustainable consumption; lifestyle-politics; globalization;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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