Sustainable Consumption, Consumer Culture and the Politics of a Megatrend

In Olga Kravets, Pauline Maclaran, Steven Miles & Alladi Venkatesh (eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Consumer Culture, edited by Olga Kravets, et al., SAGE Publications, 2017. London, UK: SAGE Publications Ltd.. pp. Ch 27, pp 592-615 (2017)
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Three things must be clarified before we can proceed with the examination. These are the terms sustainability, politics and megatrend. Unfortunately, all three are ambiguous and few disciplines have arrived at a consistent definition for any of them. While we will not resolve the ambiguity to everyone's satisfaction, we will attempt to achieve an extensional bargain (Rappaport, 1953) through which we develop an understanding of how we are using the terms. First, sustainable development became a construct in 1987 through the Brundtland Report (Brundtland, 1987) and has remained ambiguous ever since. This is where we begin our examination of sustainable consumption. Megatrend, as a phenomenon, has been defined in a multitude of ways over the past thirty-five years. In this chapter, we adopt the criteria set forth by Mittelstaedt et al. (2014) for categorising megatrends, but will use a broader interpretation of what constitutes megatrends. Finally, our use of the term political will be broader than the more common use of the term relating to legal structures, laws or agencies, and include the underlying institutions that frame the more micro aspects of politics. This approach is necessary because of the scale of sustainability and megatrends in both time and space.
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