Published today, the Routledge Handbook of Consumption, edited by Margit Keller, Bente Halkier, Terhi-Anna Wilska and Monica Truninger, includes my chapter on ‘Sustainable consumption and changing practices’. In it I work through different ways in which versions of practice theory can help to understand how to engender sustainable consumption, before considering frontiers of research in the field.
From the discussion, I conclude:
“If the apparent promise of practice theories to inform meaningful change for sustainability is to be realized, there remain substantial questions and issues to be confronted. Moving firmly beyond analysis of specific practices to meaningfully understand how practices are shaped by their mutual relations, across locales and social situations, poses substantial conceptual and empirical challenges. But doing so is necessary for practice theory to meaningfully engage with questions of equity and power, including recognizing how practices of consumption are bound up with societally shared ideologies aligning with the reproduction of capitalism and related models of individual and collective economic wellbeing. Practice theory analyses have some way still to go to realise the potential of a radical theoretical position and fully engage the broader debates over the changes needed for consumption to be sustainable.”