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Motivation and Capacity to be Sustainable Consumers: Types of Participant and Non-Participant Citizens

Henric Barkman

That citizens of Europe and other high-income countries change their lifestyle is by more and more scholars and policymakers seen as crucial to reach sustainable development. To accomplish this change, the citizenship has been put forward as a potentially reliable vessel for this matter, or at least as a compliment to financial incentives. A great deal of the focus in the sustainable citizenship discussion has been on the citizens in their consumer role, trying to choose more sustainable products. However, this focus is under debate. Although there are some theoretical and empirical results that show that at least some forms of deeply engaged sustainable consumption practices could foster values in line with sustainable citizenship and responsibility-taking both within and outside the consumer role, there are worries that sustainable consumption is crowding out sustainable citizenship.While some previous political science studies have been profiling political consumer at a general level, this study will make use of quantitative cluster analysis to identify different consumer types that might be useful for future qualitative studies. It also aims to investigate individual and institutional factors that might be predisposing or hindering them to practice political consumerism for sustainable development. Lastly, the paper will provide a preliminary analysis with the aim to give an indication of if sustainable consumption could foster a sustainable citizenship (this relationship will mainly be investigated in the coming qualitative studies within the project).The paper will make use of data from the Sustainable Citizenship Survey, conducted among 3000 respondents in Sweden, and thus providing a foundation for future planned for qualitative studies.

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