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Converging conventions of comfort, cleanliness and convenience.

Shove, Elizabeth (2003) Converging conventions of comfort, cleanliness and convenience. Journal of Consumer Policy, 26 (4). pp. 395-418. ISSN 0168-7034

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Abstract

Many commentators analyse green consumption as if it were an expression of individual environmental commitment. Such approaches suppose that the adoption of more sustainable ways of life depends upon the diffusion of "green" beliefs and actions through society. In this article, the author explores the idea that patterns of resource consumption (especially of energy and water) reflect what are generally inconspicuous routines and habits. Are such conventions evolving or standardising in ways that are increasingly resource intensive? In addressing this question with reference to three domains of daily life: comfort, cleanliness, and convenience, four simple models of change are outlined, two of which imply an inexorable escalation of resource consumption, two of which do not. The purpose of this illustrative exercise is to demonstrate the importance of understanding the systemic redefinition of "normal practice." Rather than taking individual behaviour to be the central unit of analysis, the case is made for an approach that concentrates on the construction and transformation of collective convention. This theoretical reorientation opens the way for programmes of research and policy informed by an appreciation of the technological and the commercial as well as the symbolic and cultural dimensions of more and less resource-intensive ways of life.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Consumer Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Politics & International Relations (Merged into PPR 2010-08-01)
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
ID Code: 24264
Deposited By: ep_ss_importer
Deposited On: 05 Mar 2009 14:03
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 16:23
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/24264

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