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Mikael Klintman

Mikael Klintman

Professor

Mikael Klintman

The Practice Approach in Practice: : Lessons for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that work towards sustainable food consumption in Sweden

Author

  • Vishal Parekh
  • Mikael Klintman

Summary, in English

Recognizing the great potential of civil society organizations (CSOs) as drivers of social
change, this study examines how CSOs’ work directed towards consumers—in this case, to make food consumption practices sustainable—could be analyzed and improved through insights in practice theory. This research scope adds to the sustainable consumption literature by shifting the lens from the rich body of scholarship examining the practices of households or organizations themselves to how CSOs can influence household practices. Interviews with five different Swedish CSOs serve as the study's main empirical basis. To analyze CSO activities that target households, we use practice theorist Alan Warde's well-established
categorization of four integrative social practices of eating: (1) the supplying of
food, (2) cooking, (3) the organization of meal occasions, and (4) aesthetic judgments of taste. Unlike some perspectives in sustainable consumption research that focus on consumer attitudes and behavioral change, a practice theory perspective encourages a view of consumption patterns as arising from complex and necessarily social configurations of human action formed in relation to evolving infrastructures and institutions in a cultural and historical context. In agreement with this, we suggest that the CSOs would generally benefit from focusing on particular practices, practice elements, and communities of practice. The different preconditions under which CSOs operate—such as material resource constraints and symbolic power resources—should further inform their chosen types of activities. However, we also conclude that the scale of the necessary societal changes ultimately requires increased integration and coordination of practical and political activities, not just among CSOs but throughout all spheres of society. Finally, we briefly outline avenues for further research.

Department/s

  • Sociology

Publishing year

2021-04

Language

English

Pages

480-492

Publication/Series

Sustainable Production and Consumption

Volume

26

Document type

Journal article

Publisher

Elsevier

Topic

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Keywords

  • Social practice
  • Practice theory
  • Civil society organizations
  • Environment
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Food

Status

Published

Project

  • MISTRA SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION: From niche to mainstream

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISSN: 2352-5509