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Sustainability 2010, 2(7), 1887-1908; doi:10.3390/su2071887

Citizen-Consumers as Agents of Change in Globalizing Modernity: The Case of Sustainable Consumption

Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Received: 21 May 2010 / Revised: 31 May 2010 / Accepted: 4 June 2010 / Published: 30 June 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Consumption)
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Abstract

The roles that individuals can adopt, or get assigned, in processes of global environmental change, can be analyzed with the help of three ideal-type forms of commitment: as environmental citizens, as political consumers, and as individual moral agents. We offer a discussion of the three roles in the context of sustainability changes in everyday life practices of consumption. Sociological accounts of (sustainability) transitions are discussed with respect to their treatment of the concept of agency vis à vis the objects, technologies, and infrastructures implied in globalizing consumption practices. Using consumption practices as basic units of analysis helps to avoid individualist and privatized accounts of the role of citizen-consumers in environmental change, while making possible a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between the personal and the planetary in the process of greening everyday life consumption.
Keywords: citizen-consumers; social practices; sustainable consumption; lifestyle-politics; globalization citizen-consumers; social practices; sustainable consumption; lifestyle-politics; globalization
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Spaargaren, G.; Oosterveer, P. Citizen-Consumers as Agents of Change in Globalizing Modernity: The Case of Sustainable Consumption. Sustainability 2010, 2, 1887-1908.

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