Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
Parallel 7.3 Sustainable Consumption
Friday, 02/Sept/2022:
3:00pm - 4:30pm

Session Chair: Anita Borch
Location: Room: PA 329

KK-senteret, Pilestredet 46, 3th floor, room for 40

Show help for 'Increase or decrease the abstract text size'

To make or not to make objects last? Consumers between prosumption and the desire for simplicity

Julie Madon

The practices by which consumers influence their household goods’ lifespan have gained increasing attention in the academic literature (Cooper, 2010). I call “longevity practices” the practices (second-hand consumption, search for durable products, maintenance, repair, storage, donation, resale…) by which individuals try to make their objects last. Some work has attempted to explain the conditions under which these practices are performed. They show that, although there are some profiles that make objects last longer than others (Ackermann et al., 2018; Brough & Isaac, 2010), they do not always make their objects last. Market offers and advertising (Spinney et al., 2012), as well as the entourage, the context, the time available (Cooper and Evans, 2010; Van Nes, 2010), also influence people’s practices.

In this presentation, I propose to take into account the variability and reversibility of people’s daily practices, and to focus on the inner negotiations that consumers experience when dealing with their objects. This presentation proposal is based on sixty interviews with individuals seeking to make their objects last, as well as a follow-up of eight households over six months. Using an approach inspired by the theory of practices and the research on prosumption, I will describe the consumer labour required by longevity practices, which are sometimes demanding. I will also emphasise the moments when, despite the fact that the interviewees generally seek to make their objects last, they become discouraged and give up these practices. Individuals are often caught up in negotiations with themselves, between the desire to make things last and the desire to be as efficient as possible. They must therefore establish new routines and train themselves to change their representations, in order to make their objects last despite the constraints.

A sense of agency in a sustainable transition

Anne Sofie Møller Askholm

Practice theoretical approaches to energy consumption have been productive in understanding the tacit but collectively shared and materially structured practices that lead to consumption in our everyday lives. But during a green transition which also entails a cultural change the dynamic relation between the tacit and the more reflected knowing, ethically engaged wrestle with and in the world through material practices creates a need to understand how the ethical takes a new role in shaping practices of consumption.

Is it possible to talk about a kind of agency or rather having a sense of agency as a human, a citizen and a consumer, where the ethical is not simply understood as something in the mind but as something engaged and enacted through our body-minds.

This paper contributes with empirical research among Danish citizens and consumers on the role of the ethical in their everyday life and practices, and the dynamic relation between ethical knowledge, convictions and understandings, and the cultivation of ethical practices, which sparks a sense of agency. This sense of agency supports hope of achieving a sustainable future on a societal level, while making it conceivable for people that change is possible as they themselves inhabit this change through their practices. However, at times frustration with lack of society’s engagement with sustainability may cast a shadow and people may shift to a sense of apathy, believing that what they do has no meaning and it is forfeit to do anything. The sense of apathy is stronger among people who do not cultivate ethical practices but may also influence those who try hard to cultivate sustainable practices.

For this study ethnographic fieldwork has been conducted in two locations in Denmark – on Langeland, which is an island in rural south of Denmark; and Copenhagen, which is the capital of Denmark.

Seeking sustainable futures in solarpunk and cottagecore: the portrayal of consumption in two visions of alternative ways of living.

Anastasia Loukianov, Kate Burningham, Tim Jackson

Positive visions of alternative ways of living are increasingly acknowledged to be essential to transitions towards just and sustainable futures. Current mainstream portrayals of the future in the context of the environmental crisis are primarily dystopian and lack appeal for mobilizing social transitions towards sustainable living. Solarpunk and cottagecore are two distinct collective attempts to portray alternative ways of living which have been growing in popularity over the past few years. These alternative visions have been primarily developed online by lay people, via the use of text and images. Solarpunk has aimed to explore the relationship between human societies and the environment, while cottagecore has been presented as a call for scaling-back and practicing self-sufficiency. To date however, they have generated little academic interest. As part of a broader netnography, this paper reports on work in progress and seeks to specifically explore the ways in which consumption and systems of provision are explicitly and implicitly portrayed in the two genres. What is consumed and by whom? How is it produced and by whom? To what extent are different dimensions of consumption considered? Our reflections are based on the inductive thematic analysis of circa 300 pieces of online content (texts and images) presented by their authors as contributing either to solarpunk or to cottagecore. We expect that this work will support understandings of alternative ways of thinking about consumption and the environment which may contribute to bringing fairer and more sustainable futures into being.

Do-It-Yourself practices throughout generations: the effects of digitalisation

Victoire Sessego

Although DIY (Do-It-Yourself) practices are material practices, as show by material culture studies, they are mediated by digital technologies as a means of communication and information. How has digitalisation impacted DIY practices, as in practical understandings, rules and teleoaffective judgments (Schatzki, 2002)? Furthermore, digitalisation does not spread evenly across generations, as older generations’ habits are more imbedded. Which habits did the older generation take on as digitalisation grew and which did they abstain from, compared to younger generations? As for online shopping linked to DIY activities, have practices been transferred from previous in-person shopping habits to online shopping?

In this paper, we examine DIY practices as a lifestyle linked to consumption practices (in particular digital ones), then drawing from them to consider the identity of DIY practitioners and social configurations related to them. We compare digital practices of the Silent generation to those of Generation X. Data is taken from an ongoing Phd research on DIY practices in the upper classes and we present findings from 17 in-depth interviews of members of the middle and upper classes.

Our results suggest several findings. First, the Silent generation is keener on relying on skills gained through education or professional experience, while Generation X counts more heavily on digital resources such as tutorials and online forums, which allows them to explore new practices more easily. Second, the Silent generation remains comparatively more attached to in-person shopping, while Generation X embraced online shopping and spending optimisation, even if often with the logic of store fidelity still. Finally, there is the question of the (im)personalisation of DIY learning through tutorials. Results indicate that digital tutorials far from eliminating social interactions can mediate them, very much as books can.

Contact and Legal Notice · Contact Address:
Privacy Statement · Conference: Sociology of Consumption 2022
Conference Software - ConfTool Pro 2.6.146
© 2001–2023 by Dr. H. Weinreich, Hamburg, Germany