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Understanding and Practising Sustainable Consumption in Early Motherhood

Burningham, Katherine and Venn, Susan (2017) Understanding and Practising Sustainable Consumption in Early Motherhood Journal of Consumer Ethics, 1 (2).

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This paper explores when environmentally sustainable consumption occurs for new mothers, and how their constructions of sustainable lifestyles align with, or are challenged, by the everyday priorities of family life.

The study involved longitudinal qualitative research with new mothers. Interviews focused on how ordinary consumption shifted or remained stable, with sustainability only being explicitly discussed in the final interview.

Environmentally sustainable modes of consumption were adopted when they were considered to be in synergy with the over-riding project of doing family. Participants constructed environmental sustainability as an ideal at odds with the reality of everyday family life. We suggest there is a need for greater attention to the gender and relational dimensions of environmentally sustainable practice, and for the promotion of holistic discourses of sustainable consumption which align sustainable living with the maintenance of family life.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Date : 2017
Copyright Disclaimer : This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (, which permits unrestricted use distribution and reproduction any medium, provided that the original work is appropriately cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Sustainable consumption; Sustainability; Motherhood; Family life
Related URLs :
Additional Information : Journal of Consumer Ethics is a relatively new journal. It currently has no ISSN or ESSN announced. More info at
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 02 Aug 2017 10:07
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 18:54

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