Reference : Implicit Competence and Responsibility in Everyday Practices of Sustainable Food Choices
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Sociology & social sciences
Arts & humanities : Multidisciplinary, general & others
Implicit Competence and Responsibility in Everyday Practices of Sustainable Food Choices
Reckinger, Rachel mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
11th European Sociological Association Conference : Crisis, Critique and Change.
from 28-08-2013 to 31-08-2013
European Sociological Association Consumption Research Network
[en] Food Consumption ; Sustainability ; Reflexivity ; Meanings and Values
[en] The aim of this paper is to analyse everyday appropriations of ‘responsible’ eating habits – seen as a set of plural ways of how people put into practice plural ideas of sustainability.

In order not to pre-empt normative or socially desirable results, but to find out if the motor for ‘responsible’ consumption is driven by personal, social, ecological, geopolitical or political motivations, the notion of sustainability is not addressed directly in my empirical surveys. It is rather characterised, in a first stage, by quantitative indicators of possible sustainability in the food domain. These indicators are related either to the consumed foods themselves such as organic, fair trade, regional, seasonal, etc. or to the individual practices, namely the array of places where people procure different food stuffs – commercial ones ranging from hard discounters, supermarkets, etc. to more specific ones (groceries, delicatessens, retailers, box subscription scheme, etc.) and non-commercial ones (common, own garden, exchange barter, etc.). This survey (N = 3000), situated in Luxembourg and the surrounding Greater Region, is completed, in a second stage, by 50 qualitative, semi-directive interviews, which provide in-depth insights into the meanings of, and values behind, those indicators. What is of interest here are the everyday priorities, criteria, appropriations and strategies of consumption, as well as the justifications of this consumption in a perspective of regional/spatial identification.

This approach not only shows which aspects of the polysemic idea of sustainability are relevant to people’s preoccupations (shaped by their everyday constraints and, in turn, shaping selective purchases), but uncovers to what extent people are reflexive in their ‘responsible’ food choices and in which ways, as well as for which reasons, consumers engage in the political domain of food issues.

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