Sustainable Consumption: A Theoretical and Environmental Policy Perspective

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Within environmental social sciences, the authors believe that the analysis of sustainable production should be complemented by bringing in issues of sustainable consumption and lifestyles. It is possible to place a stronger emphasis on consumption issues without lapsing into the socio-psychological models that were used for so long in the analyses of environmental (un)friendly behaviors of citizen-consumers. The article argues that the social practices model, derived from structuration theory, offers a feasible alternative in this respect, because the model makes possible a sociological, "contextual" approach to consumption behaviors and lifestyles. The kind of questions the social practices model generates for empirical research are illustrated using the example of domestic consumption of utility products and services. By discussing a number of pilot studies within Dutch environmental policymaking, the future agenda of the politics of sustainable consumption is explored and commented upon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-701
JournalSociety & Natural Resources
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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