The Role of Social Capital in Sustainable Consumption

By Carita J. Niemi and Klaus Hubacek.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Social capital and sustainable consumption are both concepts that have received considerable attention during the past two decades or so. The literature on sustainable consumption suggests that improved social relations and community life could help people to change their consumption behaviour towards more sustainable patterns of consumption. However, the direct empirical research in this area is sparse, if not completely missing. The aim of this paper is to critically examine the nature of both of these concepts and then to explore the relationship between them. Preliminary results of an on-going qualitative empirical study, investigating the experiences and perceptions of different consumer types with regard to their use and possession of social capital, will be presented. The preliminary analysis reveals that different consumer types are characterized by different forms of social capital and that these characteristics are accompanied by a particular set of meanings and values. The study represents a move away from a mere quantitative measurements of social capital and its manifested impacts towards a more qualitative and holistic approach to social capital. The conclusion of the study is that the concept of social capital can offer a valuable analytical tool for studies on consumer behaviour.

Keywords: Sustainable Consumption, Social Capital, Consumer Types, Networks

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 1, Issue 6, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.015MB).

Carita J. Niemi

PhD Student, Sustainability Research Institute,, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Klaus Hubacek

University of Leeds, UK

Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

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