Socially responsible consumption: Between social welfare and degrowth

Mariusz Baranowski*, Helen Kopnina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The main objective of this study is to characterize socially responsible consumption (SRC) through the lens of social welfare and degrowth proposals. The central research questions are (i) whether SRC can contribute to the realization of the foundations of a degrowth society and (ii) whether SRC fits into the critique of the economic growth paradigm. These are essential questions because SRC is often treated as an “invention” of affluent societies that seek more sophisticated methods of consumption (such as conspicuous, green, and ethical consumption) due to the prevailing cultural system. We challenge this viewpoint by drawing on studies from the intersection of social and environmental sciences. For this purpose, Talcott Parsons’ extended AGIL paradigm is introduced, referred to as AGIL+DE, as is our proposal of nature-based social welfare. Although this study is preliminary, its task is to develop new interpretative possibilities for the sociology of degrowth and innovative approaches to consumption in particular. The results suggest a change of approach in the study of the consumption phenomenon from the side of redefined social welfare, with a focus on moderate (SRC) and more radical (degrowth) solutions respecting the environmental impact. This change of approach to consumption requires rethinking and incorporating new empirical indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-335
Number of pages17
JournalEconomics and Sociology
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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