The Everyday Performance of Sustainable Lifestyles: A Study of Green Habitus in Trondheim, Norway

By Martina Maria Keitsch.

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper discusses research on sustainable lifestyles in Trondheim, Norway. The goal is to elucidate how concepts and ideologies of sustainability influence (urban) activities, attitudes and consumption habits and, vice versa, how products and services contribute to a “green habitus.” From a designerly perspective, the research contributes to learning if, and how, sustainable product qualities can be applied to conventional products, consumption patterns, and utilitized for new developments. Following the idea of a performative turn in design, that everyday practices are “performed” within certain sociocultural contexts, it is argued that sustainability practices form around shared tastes, values, and material representations, which cohere into a distinctive lifestyle and habitus. A sustainable lifestyle is enacted according to a continuously made and remade set of “appropriate” actions and consumption patterns. In order to excavate elements of a “green habitus”, the research employs methods such as participant observation alongside a set of focus group meetings and a series of individual, semi-structured interviews. The results achieved contribute to analyzing how sustainable activities and consumption patterns can be employed within a broader urban context.

Keywords: Green Habitus, Bourdieu, Aristotle, Ideas, Actions, Products, Urban Sustainability

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.47-56. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.124MB).

Prof. Martina Maria Keitsch

Associate Professor, Department of Product Design, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

Dr. Martina M. Keitsch has been an associate professor in the Department of Product Design since 1, September, 2011. Dr. Keitsch has a doctorate in philosophy, in the field of environmental ethics and aesthetics. She has worked for over ten years in the design field, mainly with eco design, CSR, design theory and research, environmental ethics, systems methodology, theory of science, and aesthetics. From 1997–2007 she worked at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Programme for Industrial Ecology and Department for Product Design) as researcher and lecturer. From 1998–2000 she was the project leader of an interdisciplinary research project on sustainable wastewater systems design in the Trondheim region. From 2002–2004 she was post-doc at NTNU, working with conceptual and theoretical aspects of sustainable product design.