Household consumption and environmental change: Rethinking the policy problem through narratives of food practice:

Published on Mar 1, 2017in Journal of Consumer Culture1.67
· DOI :10.1177/1469540515586869
Jessica Paddock7
Estimated H-index: 7
(Cardiff University)
Central to debates concerned with societal transition towards low-carbon living is the imperative to encourage individual subjects to shift their behaviours to support less consumptive ways of life: eating less meat, consuming less energy and water, and wasting less of what we do consume. Exploring narratives derived from 30 interviews with householders living in and around a UK city, this article considers the dynamics surrounding consumption, unpacking the notion that consumers act as agents of choice. Drawing on accounts of daily routines, the article pays close attention to the complexity of social, cultural and material factors that shape narratives of daily life, where food emerges as a core organising principle. This suggests that food practice provides a nexus point around which change can be more effectively conceptualised for public policies aimed at inculcating more sustainable ways of life. That is, through an understanding of food practice, we can explore means of locking and unlocking wider ...
  • References (52)
  • Citations (18)
Published on Nov 1, 2016in Journal of Consumer Culture1.67
Catherine Butler16
Estimated H-index: 16
(University of Exeter),
Karen Parkhill21
Estimated H-index: 21
(Bangor University),
Nicholas Frank Pidgeon59
Estimated H-index: 59
In policy and research, there is increasing recognition that the scale of transitions necessary for a low carbon society will require significant reductions in energy demand. Concurrently, advancing knowledge about energy practices has been highlighted as important in developing a basis for the delivery of less energy intensive configurations. In this article, we examine interview (participant n = 53) and visual (photographic) data collected across two UK communities to develop understanding of ...
Published on Jun 1, 2015in Journal of Cleaner Production6.39
Josephine Mylan6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of Manchester)
The sustainable product-service system (SPSS) concept highlights that achieving sustainability requires changes in both ‘production’ and ‘consumption’. Nevertheless, attention has focused mainly on ‘production’. This paper enriches the SPSS approach with insights from the sociology of consumption and practice theory to provide a deeper understanding of the use of products and services in daily life contexts. The paper advances three key insights related to: a) the internal dynamics of user pract...
Published on May 21, 2015
Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier13
Estimated H-index: 13
Séverine Gojard9
Estimated H-index: 9
Food consumption has become the subject of many prescriptions that aim to improve consumers’ health and protect the environment. This study examined recent changes in food practices that occurred in response to prescriptions. Currently, a significant number of food consumption studies have attempted to explain the impact on consumption practices of prescriptions issued by authorities for common good reasons. Until the 1990s, the question of how individual food practices may change over time rema...
Published on Sep 11, 2013
Nicola Spurling7
Estimated H-index: 7
Andrew McMeekin17
Estimated H-index: 17
+ 2 AuthorsDaniel Welch4
Estimated H-index: 4
This report introduces a novel approach to sustainability policy— a practice perspective. We argue that social practices are a better target of intervention for sustainability policy than ‘behaviour’, ‘choice’ or technical innovation alone. Understanding the dynamics of practices offers us a window into transitions towards sustainability. We consume resources as part of the practices that make up everyday life—showering, doing the laundry, cooking or driving—what we might call inconspicuous or o...
Published on Feb 1, 2012in Sociology
Kathryn Wheeler6
Estimated H-index: 6
This article employs a practice–theoretical approach in order to explore how preferences towards Fairtrade goods emerge and are sustained through engagement in varied social practices. In recent years, the rates of Fairtrade consumption have been growing steadily both within the UK and globally and this growth has been widely represented as the result of thousands of individual citizen-consumers ‘voting’ for fairer trade. This article moves away from current accounts of (Fairtrade) consumption t...
Published on Dec 1, 2011in Environment and Planning A2.46
Russell Hitchings18
Estimated H-index: 18
(UCL: University College London)
Though many people around the world now spend much of their time surrounded by bodies of controlled ambient air indoors, we still know relatively little about the subjectivities involved. Some have deployed the idea of air-conditioning addiction. Others emphasise the enjoyable sensations associated with temporary escape. The research described in this paper sought to add some empirical depth to these discussions by combining theories of social practice with a programme of serial interviews to ex...
Published on Dec 1, 2011in Critical Public Health2.74
David Evans45
Estimated H-index: 45
(University of Manchester)
In public debates about the volume of food that is currently wasted by UK households, there exists a tendency to blame the consumer or individualise responsibilities for affecting change. Drawing on ethnographic examples, this article explores the dynamics of domestic food practices and considers their consequences in terms of waste. Discussions are structured around the following themes: (1) feeding the family; (2) eating ‘properly’; (3) the materiality of ‘proper’ food and its intersections wi...
Published on Jun 20, 2011
John Urry59
Estimated H-index: 59
Contemporary societies are faced by a new spectre haunting the ‘globe’ — the changing of the world’s climate. This was not believed possible by scientists until fairly recently although the theoretical idea of a ‘greenhouse effect’ has been well established for a century or so.
Published on Mar 1, 2011in Time & Society1.73
Fiona Shirani12
Estimated H-index: 12
Karen Henwood23
Estimated H-index: 23
This article explores how unexpected life course events can potentially be experienced as problematic by challenging anticipated future trajectories. Using data from a qualitative longitudinal study of men interviewed about fatherhood, we consider four unanticipated events in the context of family formation which are variously experienced as propelling men forwards, imposing a pause, or regressing to a previous life course phase. In these situations time represents a threat to personal identity,...
Published on Mar 1, 2011in Journal of Consumer Culture1.67
Mónica Truninger7
Estimated H-index: 7
(University of Lisbon)
Every two minutes, one Bimby is sold somewhere in the world. This multi-food processor (also known as Thermomix) has gained wide sales success in many southern European countries and promises to revolutionize the way people cook, learn about cooking, coordinate and plan food practices at home. In a period where debates about cooking skills are paradoxical; some voices concerned with deskilling, while others enhance the visibility of cooking education in the media, this domestic technology is her...
Cited By18
Published on Jan 1, 2020in Journal of Cleaner Production6.39
Jiesper Tristan Strandsbjerg Pedersen (University of Lisbon), Halaze Celestino de Pedro Manhice (UEM: Eduardo Mondlane University)
Abstract The implementation of household waste separation in the European Union (EU) faces challenges, and argued less successful than expected. This article reports on an anthropological case study in five apartment buildings in the Copenhagen area, Denmark, analyzing the relationship between the local municipal waste system and its users. The results reveal that the implementation of increased source separation cannot rely solely on value appeals (as proposed in the EU strategy). The residents...
Published on Jul 12, 2017in Journal of Consumer Culture1.67
Jenny Rinkinen7
Estimated H-index: 7
(Lancaster University),
Elizabeth Shove41
Estimated H-index: 41
(Lancaster University),
Mattijs Smits5
Estimated H-index: 5
(WUR: Wageningen University and Research Centre)
We know that patterns of domestic consumption are situated within broader systems of provision and that home appliances like the fridge freezer bridge between practices of cooking, shopping and eating, on one hand, and increasingly global systems of food production, distribution and diet on the other. In analysing the uses of fridge freezers in Hanoi and Bangkok as expressions, in microcosm, of complex and evolving processes of urbanisation and food provisioning, this article provides new insigh...
Published on Nov 26, 2018in Environmental Sociology
Séverine Gojard9
Estimated H-index: 9
('ENS Paris': École Normale Supérieure),
Bérangère Véron1
Estimated H-index: 1
('ENS Paris': École Normale Supérieure)
ABSTRACTChanges in provisioning routines can trigger more sustainable food practices. Holiday periods, for instance, are paced by less constrained temporalities; often they are times when household...
Published on May 16, 2019in Food Security2.15
The main outcome of sustainable agro-food systems is food and nutrition security. Nevertheless, about half of the global population is affected by food insecurity and malnutrition, a symptom of the dysfunctions of the current food system. This paper provides a review of the state of research on the sustainability of agro-food transitions, and the extent to which and in what ways such research examines food and nutrition security. A search carried out on Scopus in January 2018 yielded 771 documen...
Published on Jun 1, 2019in Agriculture and Human Values3.13
Kirstie O’Neill3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Cardiff University),
Adrian K. Clear10
Estimated H-index: 10
(Northumbria University)
+ 1 AuthorsMike Hazas20
Estimated H-index: 20
(Lancaster University)
Emissions arising from the production and consumption of food are acknowledged as a major contributor to climate change. From a consumer’s perspective, however, the sustainability of food may have many meanings: it may result from eating less meat, becoming vegetarian, or choosing to buy local or organic food. To explore what food sustainability means to consumers, and what factors lead to changes in food practice, we adopt a sociotechnical approach to compare the food consumption practices in N...
Published on Jun 1, 2019in Journal of Cleaner Production6.39
Hamid El Bilali6
Estimated H-index: 6
Hamid El Bilali1
Estimated H-index: 1
Abstract Agro-food sustainability transitions refer to fundamental changes necessary to move towards sustainable agriculture and food systems. The young field of research on sustainability transitions in agro-food systems is still largely ill-defined. In order to delineate its contours, this paper provides a critical review of the main research themes and highlights research gaps. A search carried out on Scopus in January 2018 yielded 549 records and 111 research articles were included in the sy...
Published on Jun 1, 2019in Sociology
Jonas House3
Estimated H-index: 3
(University of Sheffield)
Sociological research on sustainable consumption has seen widespread application of theories of practice (‘practice theories’) as a means of transcending the limitations of epistemologically individualistic ‘behaviour change’ approaches. While in many ways the central insights of practice theories vis-a-vis consumption are now well established, this article argues that the approach holds further insights for sociological analysis of food consumption in general, and of novel foods in particular. ...
Published on Jan 2, 2019in Environmental Sociology
Corrina Tucker4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Massey University)
ABSTRACTPractice theory as applied to consumer behaviours is an area of enquiry presently gaining momentum. In this article, I draw on practice theory as a way to understand change as it relates to environmentally conscientious (EC) food consumption. The main question asked here is: how does concern about food consumption develop and translate into practice, and what forms does this take? Also, the relationship of these practices to wider social structures is explored as a means to theorise in w...
Published on Jan 1, 2019in Food, Culture, and Society0.63
Nicklas Neuman4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Uppsala University)
ABSTRACTThis paper is based on a two-part argument. First, food studies should be more engaged in social theory. It is argued that a greater engagement with theoretical debates and developments, as well as clearer theoretical conflicts in the field, would increase both our empirical knowledge of food issues and the understanding of general social-theoretical problems. This will not reduce food to a simple means of “studying something else,” but, on the contrary, will highlight the exceptionality...
Hamid El Bilali6
Estimated H-index: 6
Hamid El Bilali1
Estimated H-index: 1
The agro-food system needs a genuine sustainability transition to achieve sustainable food and nutrition security in the face of climate change, population growth, ecosystem degradation and increasing resource scarcity. Agro-food sustainability transitions refer to transformation processes needed to move towards sustainable agriculture and food systems. There is a broad range of theoretical and conceptual frameworks that have been used to understand and promote transition towards sustainability....