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The Ecological Economics of Consumption

Edited by Lucia A. Reisch, Professor, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark and Inge Røpke, Aalborg University, Denmark
Research on consumption from an environmental perspective has exploded since the late 1990s. This important new volume cuts across disciplines to present the latest research in the field.
Extent: 272 pp
Hardback Price: £91.00 Web: £81.90
Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 978 1 84376 512 7
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  • Environment
  • Ecological Economics
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Sociology and Sociological Theory
Research on consumption from an environmental perspective has exploded since the late 1990s. This important new volume cuts across disciplines to present the latest research in the field.

The book is divided into three parts, the first of which addresses the problems of consumption both as a concept and as an economic and social force with high environmental impact. In the second part, the authors try to explain consumption as an attempt by individuals to satisfy different types of needs whilst simultaneously being embedded in certain lifestyles and constrained by time and daily routines. The final section looks at how change towards less environmentally damaging consumption patterns can be achieved through national sustainability and consumer policy measures, as well as through community building and individual action. In accordance with the transdisciplinary nature of ecological economics, the original contributions emanate from a variety of different perspectives to reflect the diversity of research in this growing field.

By seriously exploring the role of consumption within ecological economics, this fine book will provide invaluable reading for students and researchers interested in sustainable consumption, ecological economics and consumer research.
‘This new volume cuts across disciplines to present the latest research in the field. By seriously exploring the role of consumption within ecological economics, this fine book will provide invaluable reading for students and researchers interested in sustainable consumption, ecological economics and consumer research.’
– Management of Environmental Quality

‘Ecological economics, a rapidly growing field, has focused far more on production than consumption. This volume provides an important corrective to that emphasis, and should prove influential. The editors have assembled a distinguished group of scholars who both assess the present state of knowledge, and tackle important conceptual issues, such as “What exactly is consumption?” “Which consumer activities are most ecologically significant?” and “What strategies for changing consumer behaviour actually work?” This is an outstanding collection that deserves a wide readership.’
– Juliet Schor, Boston College, US

‘Lucia Reisch and Inge Røpke offer the best of academia: sophisticated and clear-sighted inquiries into a troubling issue.’
– Wolfgang Sachs, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Germany

‘Consumption is the driving force for economic growth, but it is also the driving force for unsustainable development. In The Ecological Economics of Consumption we learn how to cope with this challenge effectively and how to eventually reach a level of sustainable consumption.’
– Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Bundestag Environment Committee, Germany
Contributors: C. Empacher, K. Götz, K. Gram-Hanssen, T. Jackson, W. Jager, M. Jalas, J. Jespersen, L. Michaelis, L.A. Reisch, I. Røpke, E. Shove, J.H. Spangenberg, S. Stagl, R. Wilk
Contents: 1. The Place of Consumption in Ecological Economics Part I: Problematizing Consumption 2. Questionable Assumptions about Sustainable Consumption 3. The Society, its Products and the Environmental Role of Consumption 4. Work-related Consumption Drivers and Consumption at Work Part II: Explaining Consumption 5. Beyond Insatiability – Needs Theory, Consumption and Sustainability 6. Changing Human Behaviour and Lifestyle: A Challenge for Sustainable Consumption? 7. Domestic Electricity Consumption – Consumers and Appliances 8. Sustainability in Everyday Life – A Matter of Time? Part III: Changing Consumption 9. Sustainable Consumption as a Consumer Policy Issue 10. Lifestyle Approaches as a Sustainable Consumption Policy – A German Example 11. Community, Reflexivity and Sustainable Consumption 12. Macroeconomic Stability: Sustainable Development and Full Employment Index