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Open Access A Practice Theory Approach to Sustainable Consumption

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Sustainable consumption is often reduced to consumer choices or forms of product appropriation. Such a narrow focus on individual acts neglects their role in reproducing social order and only shows the top of the iceberg of consumption. In contrast, reconstructing consumption as a part of social practices sheds light on the fundament of the iceberg and shows how everyday consumption patterns are embedded in socio-cultural and socio-technical settings. A qualitative study on life course transitions to parenthood is taken as an example to show how changes in a household's consumption patterns is pre-structured by the social construction of parental practices. The paper concludes with a call for a more reflexive, collaborating and experimental policy approach towards sustainable consumption.

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Keywords: FOOD CONSUMPTION; LIFE TRANSITIONS; PERFORMANCE; SOCIAL ORDER; SOCIAL PRACTICES; SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2014

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  • GAIA is a peer-reviewed inter- and transdisciplinary journal for scientists and other interested parties concerned with the causes and analyses of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions.

    Environmental problems cannot be solved by one academic discipline. The complex natures of these problems require cooperation across disciplinary boundaries. Since 1991, GAIA has offered a well-balanced and practice-oriented forum for transdisciplinary research. GAIA offers first-hand information on state of the art environmental research and on current solutions to environmental problems. Well-known editors, advisors, and authors work to ensure the high quality of the contributions found in GAIA and a unique transdisciplinary dialogue – in a comprehensible style.

    GAIA is an ISI-journal, listed in the Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Science Citation Index and in Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    All contributions undergo a double-blind peer review.

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