Consumer society is an unquestionably complex social construct. However, after decades of unremitting dominance there are signs emerging that it is starting to falter, both as a coherent and durable system of social organization and as a strategy for societal advancement. Debates concerning how we can transition beyond present energy- and materials-intensive consumer society are beginning to gain greater salience.

Social Change and the Coming of Post-Consumer Society aims to develop more complete appreciation of the relevant processes of social change and to identify effective interventions that could enable a transition to supersede consumer society. Bringing together leading interdisciplinary experts on social change, the book identifies and analyzes several ongoing small- and modest-scale social experiments. Possibilities for macro-scale change from the interlinked perspectives of culture, economics, finance, and governance are then explored. These contributions expose the systemic problems that are emblematic of the current condition of consumer society, specifically the unsustainability of prevailing consumption practices and lifestyles and the persistence of inequalities. These observations are summarized and extended in the final chapter of the book.

This volume will be of great interest to students and scholars of sustainable consumption, sustainability transitions, environmental sociology, and sustainable development.

part I|22 pages

Consumption and social change

part II|102 pages

Niches of social innovation

chapter 2|18 pages

The new sharing economy

Enacting the eco-habitus

chapter 3|18 pages

Toward a more solidaristic sharing economy

Examples from Switzerland

chapter 4|17 pages

Social change at the nexus of consumption and politics

A case study of local food movements

chapter 5|17 pages

Institutionalization processes in transformative social innovation

Capture dynamics in the social solidarity economy and basic income initiatives

chapter 6|30 pages

Consumption and social change

Sustainable lifestyles in times of economic crisis

part III|88 pages

Post-consumerist transitions

chapter 7|18 pages

When “gestures of change” demand policy support

Social change and the structural underpinnings of consumer culture in the United States

chapter 8|25 pages


An emerging issue in sustainable consumption research

chapter 9|22 pages

“Beyond-GDP” indicators

Changing the economic narrative for a post-consumer society?

chapter 10|21 pages

Consumption, governance, and transitions

How reconnecting consumption and production opens up new perspectives for sustainable development

part IV|6 pages

Social change toward post-consumer society