Understanding and Practising Sustainable Consumption in Early Motherhood
New Paper by Kate Burningham and Susan Venn
Journal of Consumer Ethics — Vol 1 Issue 2: Gender and Ethical Consumption
A new paper by Kate Burningham and Sue Venn has been published in the recently established Journal of Consumer Ethics, focusing in its second issue on why the relationship between gender and ethical consumption has been largely overlooked within academic agendas.
The article explores when environmentally sustainable consumption occurs for new mothers, and how their constructions of sustainable lifestyles align with, or are challenged, by the everyday priorities of family life. The study involved longitudinal qualitative research with new mothers. Interviews focused on how ordinary consumption shifted or remained stable, with sustainability only being explicitly discussed in the final interview. Environmentally sustainable modes of consumption were adopted when they were considered to be in synergy with the over-riding project of doing family. Participants constructed environmental sustainability as an ideal at odds with the reality of everyday family life.
Kate and Sue suggest there is a need for greater attention to the gender and relational dimensions of environmentally sustainable practice, and for promotion of holistic discourses of sustainable consumption which align sustainable living with the maintenance of family life.
The full paper is available on the JCE website (PDF, 681KB).