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Consumption junkies or sustainable consumers: considering the grocery shopping practices of those transitioning to retirement

VENN, S, BURNINGHAM, K, BURNINGHAM, K, CHRISTIE, I and JACKSON, T (2015) Consumption junkies or sustainable consumers: considering the grocery shopping practices of those transitioning to retirement Ageing and Society.

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Abstract

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 The current generation of older people who are approaching or recently experiencing retirement form part of a unique generational habitus who have experienced a cultural shift into consumerism. These baby boomers are often portrayed as engaging in excessive levels of consumption which are counter to notions of sustainable living and to intergenerational harmony. This paper focuses on an exploration of the mechanisms underpinning the consumption patterns of baby boomers as they retire. We achieve this through an understanding of the everyday practices of grocery shopping which have the potential to give greater clarity to patterns of consumption than the more unusual or ‘extraordinary’ forms of consumption such as global travel. In-depth interviews with 40 older men and women in four locations across England and Scotland were conducted at three points in time across the period of retirement. We suggest that the grocery shopping practices of these older men and women were influenced by two factors: (a) parental values and upbringing leading to the reification of thrift and frugality as virtues, alongside aspirations for self-actualisation such as undertaking global travel, and (b) the influence of household context, and caring roles, on consumption choices. We conclude with some tentative observations concerning the implications of the ways baby boomers consume in terms of increasing calls for people to live in more sustainable ways.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
VENN, SUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
BURNINGHAM, KUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
BURNINGHAM, KUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
CHRISTIE, IUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
JACKSON, TUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 4 September 2015
Identification Number : 10.1017/S0144686X15000975
Additional Information : Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 11 Nov 2015 14:45
Last Modified : 11 Nov 2015 14:45
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/809313

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