Putting Sustainability into Practice

Putting Sustainability into Practice

Applications and Advances in Research on Sustainable Consumption

Edited by Emily H. Kennedy, Maurie J. Cohen and Naomi Krogman

Putting Sustainability into Practice offers a robust and interdisciplinary understanding of contemporary consumption routines that challenges conventional approaches to social change premised on behavioral economics and social psychology. Empirical research is featured from eight different countries, using both qualitative and quantitative data to support its thesis.

Chapter 11: Forging further into putting sustainability into practice

Naomi T. Krogman, Maurie J. Cohen and Emily Huddart Kennedy

Subjects: environment, ecological economics, environmental sociology, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory

Extract

Social practice theories allow us to identify the mechanisms of everyday life and to understand both change and stasis as systemic. Such concepts enable researchers to link macro-and micro-scale processes that involve provisioning activities and shifts toward more sustainable consumption behavior. Scholars, policy makers, and advocates are employing social practice concepts to answer questions such as: ‘Under what context does change occur?’ and ‘What are the feedback loops among interacting forces?’ Interventions that change the social framework, thereby influencing behavior, show great promise to foster more sustainable consumption. Various authors have shown that more information about an individual’s or group’s environmental impact does not necessarily lead to greater systemic change in households, communities, governments, and businesses. New behavioral responses result from a combination of individual, structural (relations among the parts of a complex whole), and cultural (ideas, customs, and norms) mechanisms. The social practices approach allows integration of all of these elements of change, thus providing a nuanced way to assess social change that is appealing to a growing set of interdisciplinary researchers and social change agents.

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