New Economics, Socio-technical Transitions and Social Practices
Advances in Ecological Economics series
Edited by Maurie J. Cohen, Halina Szejnwald Brown and Philip J. Vergragt
Chapter 10: Sustainable lifestyles in a new economy: a practice theoretical perspective on change behavior campaigns and sustainability issues
The mainstream policy agenda on environmental issues has changed since the end of the 1980s. In most developed countries, the focus has shifted away from an emphasis on pollution problems with technical solutions and an imposition of responsibility on public authorities toward recognition of complex global problems in need of a variety of governance strategies, including the active involvement of citizens. Accordingly, to improve sustainability, public policies, private organizations and businesses have called upon ordinary consumers to contribute to the process (Seyfang, 2006; Tukker et al., 2008; Rumpala, 2011). One of the dominant ways in which this ascription of responsibility to citizens as individual consumers has occurred has been through the application of change behavior campaigns through various types of media (Kolandai-Matchett, 2009; Shove and Walker, 2010; Hargreaves, 2011). Such efforts have entailed the formulation of strategic communication initiatives (for example, newspaper and television advertisements, posters, websites and postings on electronic social networks) in which the intent is to persuade members of a so-called target group to alter their routines (Windahl et al., 1998; Dervin, 2003). In other words, mediated communication is being used to regulate ordinary consumer’s everyday lives (Halkier, 2010).
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