Enacting Green Consumers: The Case of the Scandinavian Preppies
Keywords:Green marketing, consumer images, performativity, fashion, sustainability
The aim of this paper is to develop and illustrate an analytic approach that brings the active making and makings of green consumer images to the fore. Efforts to “know” the green consumers have generated multiple representations. Enactments of the green consumer are not innocent but also play a role in shaping how we understand and approach sustainable consumption. Because of this it is important to examine and critically discuss how green consumers are enacted today.
This paper develops an approach that allows us to examine how green consumers are enacted and discuss the consequences these constructions might have for sustainability. Theoretically, a performativity approach drawing on theories from Science and Technology Studies (STS) and economic sociology is used to discuss the enactment of green consumers. Empirically, focus is on Boomerang – a Swedish fashion retailer, brand, and producer – and its marketing practices.
The analysis shows how the marketing work of the Boomerang Company leads to the enactment of the Green Scandinavian Preppy. This specific version of the green consumer is a combination of the knowledgeable green connoisseur – a consumer that knows quality when he/she sees it – and the green hedonist in search of the good life. The Green Scandinavian Preppy wants to enjoy nature, go sailing, and do so wearing fashionable quality clothes. This is a consumer that knows quality, appreciates design, and has the means to pay for both. While this is a version of the green consumer that might be appealing and thus have the potential to promote a version of green consumption, it is also a green consumer image that has lost much of its political power as green consumption is framed as simply another source of pleasure and identity-making.
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