Real-World Sustainable Citizenship between Political Consumerism and Material Practices

Carolin V. Zorell, Mundo Yang
2019 Social Sciences  
While the number of theoretical concepts surrounding sustainable citizenship, political consumerism and ethical lifestyles is rising continuously, this article is interested in how citizens themselves delineate sustainable citizenship through their practices. Asking which contours real-world sustainable citizenship has, we draw on the practice turn. From this perspective, sustainable citizenship might be an empirical nexus of material practices, like buying organic products or sharing goods.
more » ... r sharing goods. These practices rely on dispositions that include practical rules, attitudes and political values. With survey data from Germany (N = 1350) and using principle component analysis, we reconstruct sustainable citizenship through stable and widespread real-world patterns. The results suggest that sustainable citizenship is a relatively coherent, nonetheless hybrid bundle of performances and dispositions. Real-world sustainable citizenship most resembles political consumerism, but consists overall of three distinct practices: sustainable purchasing, reduced consumption, and green mobility. All three are shown to be connected to engaged citizenship norms and the intention to advance social-ecological change. However, social class seems to prevent some citizens particularly from applying sustainable purchasing, while age and infrastructures constrain green mobility. Altogether, our results show that citizens from all social backgrounds practice sustainable citizenship. Yet they do so through different forms of practices, adjusted to their capabilities.
doi:10.3390/socsci8110311 fatcat:un2mmjtg2zhmfhqefsw6xanddq