Inderscience Publishers

Structures and mechanisms in sustainable consumption research

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In discourses related to sustainable development and consumption, one essential and also controversial field concerns the integration of macro- and micro-level structures into research. The question is to what extent these two levels can be combined and applied to sustainable development research. The question is also methodological, given that one of the most common ways to classify social theories is to divide them into those concerning holistic explanations (methodological holism) and individual actors (methodological individualism). This paper addresses the problem of the conceptualisation of structure and its relationship to sustainable consumption research. The purpose of the research is twofold. Firstly, the different aspects of the notion of structure will be examined. A special interest is taken in the relationship between the macro- and micro-level. Secondly, the role of structures in sustainable consumption research will be discussed. Also, an alternative way to integrate macro- and micro-levels will be introduced.

Keywords: sustainability, sustainable consumption, structures, interaction, consumers, mechanisms, institutions, sustainable development

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