Green lifestyles and ethical consumption have become increasingly popular strategies in moving towards environmentally-friendly societies and combating global poverty. Where previously environmentalists saw excess consumption as central to the problem, green consumerism now places consumption at the heart of the solution. However, ethical and sustainable consumption are also important forms of central to the creation and maintenance of class distinction. Green Consumption scrutinizes the emergent phenomenon of what this book terms eco-chic: a combination of lifestyle politics, environmentalism, spirituality, beauty and health. Eco-chic connects ethical, sustainable and elite consumption. It is increasingly part of the identity kit of certain sections of society, who seek to combine taste and style with care for personal wellness and the environment. This book deals with eco-chic as a set of activities, an ideological framework and a popular marketing strategy, offering a critical examination of its manifestations in both the global North and South. The diverse case studies presented in this book range from Basque sheep cheese production and Ghanaian Afro-chic hairstyles to Asian tropical spa culture and Dutch fair-trade jewellery initiatives. The authors assess the ways in which eco-chic, with its apparent paradox of consumption and idealism, can make a genuine contribution to solving some of the most pressing problems of our time.
Table of Contents
List of FiguresContributorsForewordRichard Wilk, Indiana University, USA1. The Paradoxes of Eco-Chic Bart Barendregt, Leiden University, The Netherlands, and Rivke Jaffe, University of Amsterdam, The NetherlandsPart I : From Production to Consumption2. Adversaries into Partners? Brand Coca-Cola® and the Politics of Consumer-CitizenshipRobert J. Foster, University of Rochester, USA3. Peopling the Practices of Sustainable Consumption: Eco-Chic and the Limits to the Spaces of Intention Raymond L. Bryant and Michael K. Goodman, King’s College London, UK4. Global Gold Connections: Ethical Consumption and the Beauty of Bonding ArtisansSabine Luning, Leiden University, The Netherlands and Marjo De Theije, Vu University Amsterdam, The NetherlandsPart II: Spatialities and Temporalities 5. Marketing the Mountain: The Emergence and Consequences of Eco-chic Practices in the Basque RegionSeth Murray, North Carolina State University, USA and Meredith Welch-Devine,University of Georgia, USA 6. Green is the New Green: Eco-Aesthetics in SingaporeChris Hudson, RMIT University, Australia7. The Caring, Committed Eco-Mom: Consumption Ideals and Lived Realities of Toronto MothersKate Cairns, Kim de Laat, Josée Johnston and Shyon Baumann, University of Toronto, CanadaPart III: Bodies and Beauty8. Afro-Chic: Beauty, Ethics and "Locks Without Dread" in GhanaAnna-Riikka Kauppinen, LSE, UK and Rachel Spronk, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands9. Ital Chic: Rastafari, Resistance and the Politics of Consumption in JamaicaRivke Jaffe, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands10. Tropical Spa Culture and the Face of New Asian BeautyBart Barendregt, Leiden University, The NetherlandsAfterword: From Eco-Chic to Eco-SmartSharon Zukin, CUNY, USANotesBibliographyIndex
Bart Barendregt is Director of Studies at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University, the Netherlands.Rivke Jaffe is Assistant Associate Professor at the Centre for Urban Studies, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
"Overall, for those interested in sustainable consumption, this book is an interesting look at the intersection of ethics, fashion, and power from a largely anthropological perspective. For scholars of politics or of business who are contemplating the role that consumption has in sustainable development, it raises important points about the complexity that underlies consumption, and the role of culture and fashion, as well as competing values and priorities, that must be considered. It is also an important reminder that acts of political consumption on the part of individuals has limitations as a tool of policy ... Eco-chic is a is a privileged, elite activity. - LSE Review of Books - Kira Matus A broad range of expertise amongst the contributors ensures that perspectives are varied ... interested laymen and green academics alike should find stories of interest here. - Resource - Edward Perchard Focusing on complexities in eco-chic production and consumption in the global North and South, this book offers a post-political view of political consumerism, sustainable consumption, and CSR. It provides an in-depth analysis of different eco-chic products, their ethical ambiguities, and unequal power structures. Chapters focus on pitfalls of eco-chic corporate and activist partnerships and shows how eco-chic has become an “aristocratic” lifestyle involving eco-moms and pop culture celebrities. - Michele Micheletti, Lars Hierta Professor of Political Science, Stockholm University This fascinating collection of essays takes us deep within the politics and spaces of green consumption. examining how ‘eco-chic’ plays out around the world – from Jamaica to Ghana, Toronto to Kuala Lumpur. The authors delve into the local and global specificities of the production and consumption of food, jewelry, fashion, and much more. The depth of research and the determination to write in a ‘post cynical’ manner about our everyday practices makes this book essential reading for all those who strive for the possibility of truly sustainable consumption. - Elspeth Probyn, Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney, Australia This theoretically sophisticated book avoids the usual elitist condemnations of consumer politics to present a convincing argument for incorporating less individualistic solutions to the social and environmental consequences of consumption: a move from eco-chic to eco-smart. - Zsuzsa Gille, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois, USA"