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BNELIT - Datenbank zu Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung: wissenschaftliche Literatur und Materialien
Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung: wiss. Literatur und Materialien (BNELIT)
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Re-thinking the `Good Life`.
The citizenship dimension of consumer disaffection with consumerism.
Journal of Consumer Culture
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Citizenship and consumption have frequently been regarded as oppositional and even mutually exclusive domains of activity and theory. Recent consumption practices and discourses — although they raise many complex issues both empirically and theoretically — have begun to revise this perception. This article offers reasons for enlarging the framework of thinking about the contemporary `civic' or `republican' aspects of consumption in order to include considerations that have been little registered even in the argument of those whose special interest is in the environmentally concerned citizen or `ethical' consumer. It argues for the need to recognize the extent to which moral concerns may now be coinciding with more self-interested forms of disaffection with `consumerist' consumption, and revisions in thinking on the part of affluent consumers themselves about the `good life' and what conduces to human flourishing and personal fulfilment. Theorized under the concept of `alternative hedonism', attention is paid to the ways in which affluent consumption is both compromised by its negative effects (including congestion, pollution, overwork, stress) and pre-emptive of other possible pleasures and satisfactions. This theoretical approach is presented as distinctive in allowing for a consumer whose privately experienced and self-interested needs may come to encompass public goods and the gratifications of a more socially accountable consumption. The article advances a case for viewing the `alternative hedonist' reaction to consumerism as further adding to the ways in which consumption may be said today to be acquiring a `republican' dimension and emerging as a site of citizenship, and thereby of pressure for a sustainable consumption.