Title

Critical sustainable consumption: a research agenda

SMC Author

Manisha Anantharaman

SMC Affiliated Work

1

Status

Faculty

School

School of Liberal Arts

Department

Justice, Community, and Leadership

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-16-2018

Publication Title

Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Description/Abstract

Sustainability scholarship is increasingly focused on individual behavior change and sustainable consumption as crucial components of engendering more sustainable societies. Practices like bicycling to work, recycling and reusing goods, and eating organic food are heralded as both integral to and generative of larger societal transformations. Scholars have begun to identify the individual and societal conditions that can help enable such practices while also examining social, cultural, and systemic dynamics driving over-consumption, particularly in the developed world. Additionally, questions of social and cultural identity have been interrogated, as the cultural politics of sustainable consumption emerges as a key sub-field in its own right. While more recent work has begun to focus on linking individual environmentalisms with the collective processes of changing social systems, sustainable consumption as an analytical concept has largely lacked any deep engagement with questions of power or politics. Questions of power, legitimacy, authority, and consequently justice remain largely unexamined in this field of research. In this paper, I draw on research examining sustainable consumption in India to present an argument for a new direction in sustainable consumption research that prioritizes a critical perspective and is grounded in critical social theory. I argue that sustainable consumption researchers need to look at relational and structural power within sustainable consumption efforts to see how these efforts challenge or reinforce existing patterns of oppression and marginalization and outline a “critical sustainable consumption” disposition to permeate sustainable consumption study and practice.

Keywords

Sustainable consumption, Power, Critical theory, Research justice

Lasallian research

yes

Scholarly

yes

Peer Reviewed

1

DOI

10.1007/s13412-018-0487-4

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities | Sociology

Original Citation

Anantharaman, M. (2018). Critical sustainable consumption: a research agenda. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. DOI:10.1007/s13412-018-0487-4.

Share

COinS