Innovations in Sustainable Consumption

Innovations in Sustainable Consumption

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

This timely volume recognizes that traditional policy approaches to reduce human impacts on the environment through technological change – for example, emphasizing resource efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources – are insufficient to meet the most pressing sustainability challenges of the twenty-first century. Instead, the editors and contributors argue that we must fundamentally reconfigure our lifestyles and social institutions if we are to make the transition toward a truly sustainable future.

Chapter 10: Sustainable lifestyles in a new economy: a practice theoretical perspective on change behavior campaigns and sustainability issues

Bente Halkier

Subjects: environment, ecological economics


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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