How does affluent consumption come to consumers? : A research agenda for exploring the foundations and lock-ins of affluent consumption
Consumption and Society
31 - 50 p.
In the context of the calls for sufficiency held by climate experts, consumption is a major lever of ecological transition. Following numerous social sciences studies, I suggest that the belief that such an ecological transition could rest on the shoulders of consumers alone is illusory. I highlight the strong interdependencies within a political economy of affluent consumption between public policies, corporate business models and consumer practices. Taking an economic sociological and Foucauldian perspective, I develop a research agenda to explore how affluent consumption becomes a legitimised and institutionalised norm. Affluent consumption, which is highly resource intensive, is structural in both economic policies of governments and business models of companies and is therefore constantly organised and governed. However, it is not imposed on individuals by force. The government of consumption is based on technologies of power that shape and orient consumers’ conduct, leading them to adopt the norms of affluent consumption by activating and playing on their dispositions acquired through market socialisation.