Exploring the intersection between participation in community gardens and consumption behaviour

Bocioaga, Andreea Camelia (2021) Exploring the intersection between participation in community gardens and consumption behaviour. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The environmental, social and ecological impact of consumption are a recognised global challenge and further work is needed to understand how we can respond to this challenge. Some authors have explored the importance of embedding ethical consumption behaviours through social learning and norms (Hargreaves, 2011; Moraes et al., 2012) while others have considered the role of bodily experiences in triggering ethical consumption transformations (Carolan, 2007; Turner, 2011). Nonetheless, much of previous research focuses on those who self-identify as ethical consumers in isolated contexts like residential consumption communities or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Community gardens are often positioned as places of sustainability, community and bodily learning (Litt et al., 2015). To further explore the potential for social context and bodily experiences to trigger ethical consumption concerns, the aim of this thesis is twofold. Firstly, this study aims to understand the experiences of participation among those who do not self-identify as ethical consumers in community gardens. Secondly, this study explores whether participation in these communities intersects with individuals’ wider consumption lifestyles. This thesis uses a modes of identification framework in a small-scale longitudinal study to address the aims above. Data was collected using phenomenological and narrative interviews, diaries and observations with 13 participants.

This study reveals that individuals do not develop ethical consumption concerns following their embodied and collective engagement in community gardens. Embodied participation, however, is shown to be an essential part of identification with the community. Moreover, community gardens have an important role in introducing individuals to new meanings and competencies of food which put into question their existing consumption behaviours. Individuals also acquire food growing competencies which can transfer beyond the community boundaries when access to facilities is available. Crucially, this study shows that individuals incorporate a range ethical consumption discourses and behaviours into their existing consumption narratives of health and wellbeing. This finding makes a significant contribution to ethical consumption research by uncovering a complementary identification between the consumption concerns of those who do not self-identify as ethical consumers and ethical consumption discourses. This indicates that there is an opportunity to encourage certain consumption behaviours that challenge mass consumption by harnessing the intersection between ethical consumption and consumption concerns for personal wellbeing.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Supervisor's Name: Shaw, Prof. Deirdre
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Ms Andreea Bocioaga
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-81947
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2021 17:32
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2022 16:19
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81947
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/81947

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