Quotation Spash, Clive L., Dobernig, Karin. 2017. Theories of (Un)sustainable Consumption. Discussion Paper Series of the Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, WU Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien.


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Abstract

In this discussion paper we review and contrast alternative theories of consumption in terms of the intellectual basis they provide for understanding sustainable behaviours. A defining aspect of the modern literature in this field is the emphasis on the individual as a volitional agent who engages wilfully in the decision to consume. This is in stark contrast to earlier literature that concentrated on the structural lock-in of individuals to undesirable consumption patterns and the powers of corporations in creating consumer demand for their products and services. We argue that, in order to unravel consumption in its full complexity, and as a matter of utmost importance, understanding must include both the buy-in of individual agents, whose consumption activities contribute to their self-identity, and the structure imposed by the institutions of society, that frame the context of actors' decisions. More than this, any move away from the current unsustainable consumption patterns prevalent in modern societies requires a richer conceptualisation of consumption that involves an awareness and examination of the political economy in which humans live.

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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Working/discussion paper, preprint
Language English
Title Theories of (Un)sustainable Consumption
Title of whole publication Discussion Paper Series of the Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, WU Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien
Year 2017
URL http://www-sre.wu.ac.at/sre-disc/sre-disc-2017_04.pdf

Associations

People
Spash, Clive L. (Details)
Dobernig, Karin (Details)
Organization
Institute for Multi-Level Governance and Development IN (Details)
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