Why do affluent consumers almost automatically acquire new versions or variations of products already at their disposal? Even though most of us know that this novelty consumption poses a serious threat to an environmentally and socially sustainable future, we continue to do it. Why?
Research shows that consumption of new automobiles, clothing, furniture, electronics, home furnishing, household apparel, mobile phones, etc., is motivated by a desire to feel more secure, less anxious and better mood-wise. Affluent consumers seem to engage in novelty consumption not to feel better but rather to avoid feeling bad. Stress, Affluence and Sustainable Consumption discusses sustainable consumption from a stress perspective, adding an embodied understanding to the sustainability-related consumption challenges that we face today.
A stress perspective on affluent consumption differs from current understandings on consumption, as it fully acknowledges the consumer as having a body (including a mind) that reacts to the numerous product offerings and retail spaces, both physical and online. A stress perspective can explain how our bodies try to cope with an overload of perceptual input provided by advertising messages, product launches and even store structures.
This book will be of great interest to students and researchers of consumer psychology, sustainable consumption studies, sustainable marketing and markets as well as sustainable development more generally.
Table of Contents
List of figures
Part 1 Overview: stress and affluent sustainable consumption
Chapter 1. Introduction: the sustainability of affluent consumption
Chapter 2. The sustainability of affluent consumption from a stress perspective
Chapter 3. A sociological stress theory framework
Part 2 Affluent marketplace stressors
Chapter 4. Environmental marketplace stressors: "too much perceptual input"
Chapter 5. Internalized marketplace-induced stressors: "idealized identity" overload
Chapter 6. Structural life-style stressors:"work and consumption rich, time poor"
Part 3 Stress coping and affluent sustainable consumption
Chapter 7. Coping with marketplace stressors
Chapter 8. Consumer coping strategies and sustainable consumption outcomes
Chapter 9. Affluent consumer stress coping in relation to well-being
Chapter 10. Promoting affluent sustainable consumption from a stress perspective: a theoretical outlook
Cecilia Solér is Associate Professor in Marketing at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
"Those concerned with sustainability and consumption have neglected the underlying compulsion to consume, and how it becomes a learned and habituated feature of contemporary life. This intriguing and provocative book sheds important new light on the stress of affluent consumption and the dysfunction that gives rise to it. This book is guaranteed to make you think again." — Peter Wells, Professor of Business and Sustainability, Cardiff Business School, UK
"Cecilia Solér has produced a thoughtful short volume for Routledge entitled, Stress, Affluence and Sustainable Consumption that opens up this repressed neurotic side of consumer selfhood. In my reading Solér contributes to the Maussian project of evaluating the existential consequences of market mediated consumer culture. In addition, she offers an extended exegesis of the fundamental Lacanian neurosis that this unsustainable mode of living imposes upon us all. All in all a thought-provoking and enjoyable read that takes consumption neurosis seriously as a constituent of consumer culture, and invites us to link our experiences of everyday neurotic stress and anxiety to sociological causes and environmental consequences endemic in consumer culture. A useful book for marketing ethicists, for consumer culture theorists, for students of positive psychology, and those looking for alternatives to the vicious cycle of affluence, stress, and (over-) consumption." - Eric J. Arnould, Aalto University Business School
"This book discusses (un)sustainable consumption from a stress perspective, adding an embodied understanding to the sustainability-related consumption challenges that we face today. A stress perspective on affluent consumption differs from current understandings on consumption, as it fully acknowledges the consumer as having a body (including a mind) that reacts to the numerous product offerings and retail spaces, both physical and online." - Lucia A. Reisch Journal of Consumer Policy