gupea_2077_34508_3 - Making Sense of Consumption Selections from the 2nd Nordic Conference on Consumer Research 2012 2013 The authors and Centre for

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Unformatted text preview: Making Sense of Consumption Selections from the 2nd Nordic Conference on Consumer Research 2012 @ 2013 The authors and Centre for Consumer Science Centre for Consumer Science School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg Box 606 405 30 Göteborg Sweden E-mail: [email protected] Cover illustration: USBFCO/ Shutterstock Graphic design: Malin Tengblad Printed in Sweden by Ineko, 2013 ISBN 978-91-974642-6-0 Making Sense of Consumption Selections from the 2nd Nordic Conference on Consumer Research 2012 Editors: Lena Hansson Ulrika Holmberg Helene Brembeck Contents Preface .................................................................................................................... 9 Making sense of consumption – an introduction  ........................................ 11 Lena Hansson Part I : The everyday life of consumers 1. Is a small life enough? Making sense of Finnish poor consumers’ negotiations of necessary consumption .................................................... 25 Hanna Leipämaa-Leskinen, Henna Syrjälä & Pirjo Laaksonen 2. The social importance of things and money among migrant families in Norway ........................................................................................ 41 Mari Rysst and Lill M. Vramo 3. Making sense of clothing, making sense of identity – A radical practice perspective on data from a study of Norwegian teens  ........... 55 Ardis Storm-Mathisen 4. Children as competent co-researchers. Exploring potentials and complications ......................................................................................... 73 Sandra Hillén 5. Meatballs with ice-cream: Foodscapes in children’s drawings ............... 89 Barbro Johansson 6. Temporalities of addiction ........................................................................ 107 Minna Ruckenstein 7. Easy eating? Negotiating convenience food in media food practices.............................................................................................. 119 Bente Halkier Part II : Marketplace actors  8. “Looks great, feels amazing”: The tactile dimension of packaging .... 139 Karin Wagner 9. Feminine choice and masculine needs: gender in perfume packaging ...................................................................................... 153 Magdalena Petersson McIntyre 10. Sex and the City – Eyes on consumption aesthetics ............................. 167 Jenniina Halkoaho 11. Imagining economy and consumption in Finnish newsreels  in the 1950s and early 1960s ..................................................................... 183 Minna Lammi & Päivi Timonen 12. Second-hand values and the making of a green fashion eco-market....................................................................................................197 Cecilia Fredriksson 13. Making sense of the retailer-consumer relationship – the case of Swedish food retailing and the promotion of sustainable consumption ........................................................................... 213 Matthias Lehner 14. Attitude vs. action for farm animal welfare: What can we learn from natural field experiments? ...................................................... 231 Alexander Schjøll, Frode Alfnes & Svein Ole Borgen 15. Attractiveness And Urban Form: Spatial structure of cities and its role in the attractiveness of retail activities ....................................... 247 Sara Sardari Sayyar Chapter 15 Part III : Societal perspectives 16. Consumer empowerment in Europe: its determinants and the challenges met in measuring it ........................................................... 267 Michela Nardo, Beatrice D’Hombres, Massimo Loi, & Luca Pappalardo 17. Safe Grounds and Ambiguous Substances. Framing risk and pregnancy at the Facebook site of the Swedish National Food Agency ................................................................................................285 Helene Brembeck 18. The institutional foodscapes as a sensemaking approach towards school food ..................................................................................................299 Mette Weinreich Hansen & Niels Heine Kristensen 19. Why has the level of household energy consumption stopped increasing in Norway – and how can we bring about a decrease? ...... 313 Carlo Aall 20. Households in the smart grid – existing knowledge and new approaches  ...................................................................................................333 Toke Haunstrup Christensen, Kirsten Gram-Hanssen & Freja Friis 21. Solar Collectors for Historic Homes; Linking consumption to perceptions of space .................................................................................. 349 Annette Henning 22. Addressing consumption and sustainability in design education through  a focus on practices .................................................................... 367 Kakee Scott, Jonathan Bean & Lenneke Kuijer Contributors ..................................................................................... 385 Preface Consumption and the role of consumers attract researchers from a wide range of academic disciplines. The second Nordic Conference on Consumer Research, NCCR2012, arranged by the Centre for Consumer Science (CFK) at the School of Business, Economics and Law in Gothenburg from 30 May to 1 June 2012, was no exception. The conference gathered about 150 researchers from a broad scope of disciplines ranging from the humanities and social sciences to technology who are interested in consumption and consumer research. 22 contributions from the conference were selected for this publication. The Nordic Conference on Consumer Research was initiated by our colleagues at the University of Vaasa who hosted the first conference in 2010. We thank them for all their valuable input to the arrangement of the second conference. We also want to thank all the authors who contributed to this book and express our gratitude to our conference sponsors who made it possible for us to organise the conference and put together this publication: the Partnership Programme; the School of Business, Economics and Law; the Swedish Research Council Formas; Handelsbanken; Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research; the Letterstedt Association; and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. The Conference Team Lena Hansson, Ulrika Holmberg & Helene Brembeck Centre for Consumer Science, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg 9 Introduction Making sense of consumption – an introduction Lena Hansson The conference theme “Making sense of consumption” emphasised “sensing”, in terms of understanding what consumption is all about, how to study the elusive phenomenon of consumption and the sensual aspects of con­sumption from consumers’ own perspectives ( ). Considering consumption as created in complex processes with a number of interacting actors such as consumers, marketers, retailers, producers, stores, devices, products, services etc. means that consumption is not a condition since these processes are in constant motion (Brembeck, 2011; Brembeck et al., 2010). Consumption can thus be seen as an intricate network involving a multitude of actors, a network in constant transformation. It challenges the way we study consumption and consumers, with questions on the how of consumption calling for answers: How is consumption made sense of in various settings? How are consumption and consumers captured in an everchanging, fluid world? What are the peak theories and methods today and for tomorrow? And what about the senses of consumers themselves? This anthology aims to illustrate the versatility that characterised the Nordic Conference on Consumer Research, NCCR2012, in terms of theoretical and methodological approaches, fields and disciplines. The authors came from different countries and disciplines and approached the conference theme differently in terms of theory and methodology. We believe that a trans­disci­ plinary approach to consumer research is fruitful in order to grasp con­sump­ tion, and also important for academia and society as a whole. 11 Introduction The selected contributions present a range of important concerns targeted within today’s Nordic consumer research. An urgent but challenging matter for consumer researchers or researchers overall and for society at large is that of sustainability. Consumption is, in this context, often considered a nega­tive aspect and something that needs to be addressed. In order for con­ sumption to be either reduced or to move in a more sustainable direction, consumer behaviour will have to change and more sustainable alternatives and solutions will be required. However, for this to be successful a consumer and consumption focus in research is necessary, something that is lacking in much previous research according to some of the authors of the contributing chapters. The increased interest in sustainability issues among consumption re­ searchers is reflected in a number of chapters in this anthology. They discuss eco-fashion (chapter 12), the retail sector’s role in promoting sustainable food consumption (chapter 13), animal welfare (chapter 14), organic food (chapter 18) and sustainable design (chapter 22). Within the field of energy con­ sumption, three chapters focus on sustainability in terms of energy policies (chapter 19), the smart grid energy system (chapter 20) and solar collectors (chapter 21). In addition to the chapters that explicitly address sustainability in general and the environmental aspects in particular, there are a couple of contributions that relate to the social and economic aspects of sustainability. They pay atten­tion to poor consumers and necessary consumption (chapter 1) and the impor­tance of upholding certain consumption for the purpose of social in­ clusion (chapter 2) in today’s contemporary welfare society. One chapter illu­ strates the rise of the Finnish welfare state through a historical media ana­ lysis (chapter 11). While consumption then was viewed as the solution for reaching prosperity, today it is considered to be part of the unsustainability problem. Another area of concern is consumer empowerment, i.e. for con­ sumers to become influential actors in the market they need to be active and well-informed (chapter 16). The need for improved policies and regulations to enhance the level of empowerment among European con­ sumers is highlighted. Furthermore, gender products are scrutinised in the perfume market (chapter 9) and the gender issue is also a theme in the chapter on the Sex and the City 2 movie (chapter 10). Food and consumption is also an area of great interest among consumer re­ searchers. In addition to the chapters related to food and sustainability just mentioned, our authors focus on children’s food consumption (chapters 4 12 Hansson and 5), convenience food (chapter 7) and food and risk (chapter 17). A foodrelated theoretical concept that has emerged in research over the last decade is ‘foodscapes’ – defined by Dolphijn as processes where food and people mutually construct each other in a constant process of change, where food affects and is affected. Here ‘foodscapes’ is used to discuss institutional foodscapes when analysing the introduction of organic food in school meals (chapter 18) and children’s foodscapes in drawings (chapter 5). A more recent theoretical perspective noticeable in consumption and con­ sumer research today is practice theory. Regarding practices as the smallest rele­ vant units of social studies, practice theorists advocate studying the mundane activities that consumers partake in and how the social and material world interacts. An overall practice theoretical framework is used in several chapters of this anthology but applied in different empirical fields and in combination with other theoretical and analytical concepts. Practice theory is involved in the theoretical chapters investigating addiction as ‘circuits of reproduction’, that according to Pantzar and Shove, , who are quoted, are characterised by mutually constituted relations between practices and complexes of practice (chapter 6), and how to empirically study the consumption of convenience food in media food practices (chapter 7). Other contributions inspired by the practice theory per­spective are the cultural media analysis of market practices (chapter 12) and the practice-oriented design approach to sustainability (chapter 22). You can also read about a different practice perspective based on Wittgenstein’s concept of language-game (chapter 3). Further, the methodological approaches are multifold in the anthology, so are the chosen methods. Besides using interviews in different forms as the pre­ dominant method of data collection, a number of researchers carry out ob­ ser­vations and collect media material as well. A natural field experiment in an in-store setting (chapter 14) illustrates one of the rarer methods used in con­sumer research. Other promising methods applied in the contributing chapters include co-research, where children participate as researchers and are researched (chapter 4 and chapter 5). The transdisciplinary nature of consumer research is also reflected in the emergent interest in design, both as a research field and as a practice. The use of design methods to create more sustainable solutions (chapter 22) and attractive city retail (chapter 15) or to enhance sensual experiences of packaging (chapter 8) brings a new dimension to the field of consumer research and works well with the conference theme. 13 Introduction Structure of the book This anthology is divided into three parts. The contributing chapters have been grouped into three overall themes that make up the different parts. The first part, Part I: The everyday life of consumers, offers a consumer perspective and the chapters acknowledge in different ways the life of being a consumer and the practices of consumption, while increasing knowledge about the consequences of consumption. The second part, Part II: Marketplace actors, focuses on actors at different levels involved in the making of the market­place such as packaging, media, retailers, stores and the city. In the last part, Part III: Societal perspectives, we turn our attention to the mutual impacts of consumption and society and discuss consumer policies, consumer empowerment and the importance of considering a consumer per­spective in research for future challenges. More specific presentations of each contributing chapter are presented below, part by part. Part I: The everyday life of consumers In welfare societies much consumption is taken for granted and consumption that is considered important for social participation and for personal selfconceptualisation is considered as necessary. Being able to buy consumer goods for reasons other than survival is thus self-evident. However, this does not apply to all consumers. Consumers with scarce economic resources have to deal with the fact that they cannot afford to consume what they consider to be necessary consumption. Their inability to keep up with material consump­ tion causes distress in terms of comparing themselves to other more affluent consumers and also as parents, being unable to provide their children with consumption items that they want. In consumer research, this group of con­sumers is seldom the focus of inquiry. The first part starts out with two chapters about this downside of consumption. In the first chapter, Hanna Leipämaa-Leskinen, Henna Syrjälä and Pirjo Laaksonen discuss the concepts of poverty and necessary consumption in their study of poor consumers in Finland, focusing on experienced necessity con­ sumption. The authors identify and present consumption that is experienced as necessary and how the meaning of this consumption is negotiated when economic resources are scarce. Their study shows that most consumption is experienced as necessary by poor consumers but that they are still forced to give up some of it due to their scarce economic resources. They therefore use different negotiation strategies to choose between alternatives. However, 14 Hansson the specific consumer items that are viewed as necessities vary among poor consumers, and thus what they choose to consume or not to consume. In chapter 2, Mari Rysst and Lill Vramo discuss necessary consumption with the help of two case studies about how material goods, money and services are part of inclusion and exclusion processes among migrant families and children in Norway. The study shows that over time Norwegian Sikh families tend to change their consumption practices from transnational to more local oriented, ensuring their children of inclusion among peers. In turn, this may lead to exclusion of the extended family in India. For school children, the things and activities necessary for inclusion varies but this still puts pressure on some parents to uphold certain consumption for their children’s sake despite their scarce economic resources. The need to be accepted among peers is discussed in this chapter using the concept of ‘economy of dignity’. Although the importance of being accepted among peers influences our consumption, so do our aspirations in terms of who we want to be or how we want to be perceived. The formation of identity in the processes of making sense of clothing consumption is investigated in chapter 3 by Ardis Storm-Mathisen. She uses a radical practice perspective, inspired by Wittgenstein, to describe how diversity and patterns in what Norwegian teenagers’ say about their own and their peers’ clothing are contextual, and how the meanings of clothing and identity vary with context. She further reflects upon the practical (and methodological) implications, using a practice theoretical framework for her analysis. In the two following chapters, a more active way of giving voice to con­ sumers is presented. They have used co-research as a methodological approach to engage children in research about food. Sandra Hillén sets out in chapter 4 to examine whether the concept of the competent child can be used to understand the research process when child­ ren participate as co-researchers. The children are then both acting as coresearchers and being researched. She presents a number of situations and events where children’s different competences are illustrated and argues that in the process of making sense of food consumption, their competences pull in a number of directions. She proposes that using co-research as a method helps to gain insights into children’s thoughts and reflections about food and food consumption that are difficult to obtain with other methods. Barbro Johansson has also involved children in her research about food con­ sumption. In a research activity, children aged 5-9 were invited to produce drawings of their food consumption. These ‘foodscapes’ are analysed in chap­ 15 Introduction ter 5 in relation to the concepts of ‘becoming’, ‘smooth and striated spaces’ and ‘lines of flight’. The results show that the children found several ways of making sense of food consumption and were creating new, more or less striated, foodscapes. They found lines of flight out of established cate­gori­ sations, created new categorisations and questioned generally held truths concerning food and eating. The research presented is based on a project aiming to obtain a rich and nuanced picture of children’s and parents’ attitudes and habits concerning food and health. Health and wellbeing in relation to temporalities of addiction is the con­ cern of chapter 6. Minna Ruckenstein suggests studying addiction from a prac­ tice theoretical approach as daily rhythms of everyday practices. This makes it possible to view addictions as effects of temporalities that define and con­ struct contemporary consumer societies rather than only as individual psycho­ logical or physiological problems. Addictive i...
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