The Consumer in Society

ISBN: 978-82-7935-369-0

The Consumer in Society addresses several important subthemes of consumption, such as liberalization in the 1980s, questions of sustainability and sustainable consumption, the integration of immigrants through (food) consumption, and aspects of consumer poverty.
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Forfatter: (red.) Pål Strandbakken, Jukka Gronow

In textbook economics, “consumption” might be equated with “demand”. Consumer research based on sociology, anthropology, ethnology, history, etc., however, uses a much wider concept of consumption. It covers the planning, acquisition, use and disposal of products. It also aims to place consumption in a broader social context, politically, culturally and environmentally, in addition to considering its economic aspects.

The Consumer in Society addresses several important subthemes of consumption, such as liberalization in the 1980s, questions of sustainability and sustainable consumption, the integration of immigrants through (food) consumption, and aspects of consumer poverty. The book also gives an account of the recent history of consumer studies together with discussions of the differences between consumer studies in its current form and approaches such as behavioural economics and the theory of planned behaviour.

Eivind Stø’s professional career in consumer studies is described, including his recent contribution to the theory and practice of participatory democracy. Finally, he was deceived into contributing to his own Festschrift, believing that he was collaborating on a journal article.

Eivind Stø (d.o.b. 1945) obtained his Mag. Art. in political science from the University of Oslo in 1972. He worked as an assistant at the Norwegian Election Programme from 1972 to 1976, and from 1976 to 1988 he worked for the Norwegian Fund for Market and Distribution Research.

From 1989 he has been a researcher at SIFO. He was Head of Research from 1990 and Director of Research and Director of Research from 1998. His research interests are outlined in two of the chapters of this book.


CONTRIBUTORS to this festschrift

Marthe H. Austgulen (d.o.b. 1985) holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Oslo (2010) and is a former research fellow at the National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO). Her main research interests have been sustainable consumption, regulation and consumer policy. She is currently working as a policy analyst in the European Commission.

Anita Borch (d.o.b. 1968) has worked at SIFO since 1994 and holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Helsinki. Her research interests comprise a broad range of issues, such as gambling in the family, Christmas gift giving, obesity, food insecurity, financial equality, and consumer knowledge amongst young people. In recent years she has been part of a research group at SIFO exploring technology and environmental issues.

Elling Borgeraas is a senior researcher at SIFO, Norway. He has been responsible for the Norwegian reference budget from the first version, which appeared in 1987, up to today. His research concerns the household economy, consumer knowledge, debt and indebtedness, poverty, consumption and living conditions, consumer behaviour in the financial market and consumption standards. His academic works have appeared in the International Journal of Social Welfare, Child Indicator Research, and Supportive Care in Cancer. 

Arne Dulsrud (d.o.b. 1957) obtained a PhD in sociology from the University of Oslo in 2002 and has worked as a researcher at the National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO) in Oslo since 1989. He was General Director there from 2008 to 2014. His research interests include the food market, fish distribution, ethical consumption, retailing and consumer policy. His academic publications have focused on the issues of trust, marketing and consumer empowerment.

Sandrine Fournis ( d.o.b. 1973) holds a master’s degree in human geography (conception de projets en écodéveloppement) from the University of Lille, France. She is currently working as head of the Territories Office at the Commissioner General for Sustainable Development of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, where she supports the efforts of territories and local communities to integrate sustainable development into their projects, in particular with the development of Agenda 21.

Sabine Francois (d.o.b. 1973) holds an MSc in sociology from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium and a master’s degree in management from Sovay – Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium. She is currently working as a senior expert at EcoRes, providing consulting services to companies and public authorities in the field of social innovation and participative processes.

Jukka Gronow (d.o.b. 1945) received his PhD in 1986 in sociology at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He is a professor emeritus from Uppsala University, Sweden and is currently based at the University of Helsinki. His research interests cover various aspects of modern consumption, like fashion and food consumption, as well as the history of consumption in the Soviet Union. He is currently writing a book on economy and society.

Sigmund Grønmo (d.o.b. 1947) received the degree of magister in political science from the University of Oslo in 1971. He is Professor of Sociology at the University of Bergen and Adjunct Professor at the Sámi University College. His main academic interests include social science methodology, institutional development for indigenous research and higher education, and economic sociology, previously focusing on the role of consumers in markets and society and currently analysing social networks and structures within business.

Bente Halkier (d.o.b. 1964) obtained her MA in sociology from Lancaster University, in the United Kingdom, and an MA in political science from Århus University, Denmark. She took her PhD at Roskilde University, Denmark, conducting research into how young consumers experience and handle environmental considerations relating to food in everyday life. She is currently employed as a professor in the Department of Communication, Business and Information Technologies, Roskilde University, Denmark. Her main research interests are the sociology of food, contested consumption, and mediated communication in everyday life.

Nina Heidenstrøm (d.o.b. 1984) holds a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Oslo from 2009. Her thesis was on environmentalists’ sustainable consumption in everyday life. She is currently working as a research fellow at SIFO in Oslo. Her main research interests are household energy consumption, material culture and risk in everyday life.

Lotte Holm (d.o.b. 1952) holds an MSc in sociology from the University of Copenhagen (1971) and received a PhD from Roskilde University (1992), where her thesis was on dietary change. She is Professor of Sociology of Food in the Department of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Copenhagen. In her research she addresses various aspects of food and eating, including modern meal patterns, food in everyday life, obesity and body management, food in institutions and food-related policies.

Eivind Jacobsen (d.o.b. 1956) is a sociologist from the University of Oslo (1986). He has been working at SIFO since 1989 on a wide range of topics. In 2014 he received a PhD in science and technology studies at Center for Technology, Innovation and Culture (TIK) at the University of Oslo for his work on how to study domestic food-safety practices. He currently holds the position of Director of Research at SIFO.

François Jégou (d.o.b. 1965) holds a master’s degree from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle, in Paris. He is the director of the Brussels-based sustainable innovation lab, Strategic Design Scenarios, which he created in 2002. François is leading expert with an URBACT network of ten European cities working together on sustainable food governance; he is the design manager of LUPI, the business user lab for the Cité du Design in St Étienne, France, and a partner in DESIS, the Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability network. He teaches strategic design at La Cambre design school, Brussels and is a visiting professor at Politecnico, Milan and ENSCI, Les Ateliers, Paris. His publication Sustainable Street 2030 is an eBook asking what everyday life might be like in a sustainable society. How would we eat food, move, work, and take care of each other?

Margit Keller (d.o.b. 1971) gained a PhD in media and communications from the University of Tartu, Estonia in 2004. Her research has focused on the transformation of post-Soviet consumer culture. She works as a senior researcher in social communication at the Institute of Social Studies of the University of Tartu. She also chairs the Research Network of Sociology of Consumption of the European Sociological Association. Her recent research is on change in everyday practices and various institutional interventions into consumers’ lives.

Unni Kjærnes was born in1952. She has a candidata realium degree in nutrition and a PhD in sociology. She has for many years been a senior researcher at the National Institute for Consumer Research. Her primary interest has been in the politics of consumption, focusing mostly on food issues and including perspectives such as trust, power and regulatory arrangements as well as the involvement and responsibility of consumers in their everyday practices.

Research professor Ingun Grimstad Klepp (d.o.b. 1962) wrote her MA and PhD on leisure time and outdoor life at the University of Oslo. She works at SIFO on sustainable textile, clothing, laundry and leisure consumption. She has written numerous articles and books on these themes. She currently works with wool, with an interest in consumption and in questions regarding the value chain. The relationship between textiles, social and physical characteristics and how these interrelate is at the core of her interest.

Kirsi Laitala (d.o.b. 1976) holds an MSc in textile, clothing and fibre engineering from the Tampere University of Technology from 2001 and received her PhD at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 2014. She is currently working as a researcher at the National Institute for Consumer Research in Oslo. Her main research interests lie within sustainable clothing consumption and use of interdisciplinary research methods.

Randi Lavik (d.o.b. 1950) graduated as candidata sociologiae from the University of Oslo in 1978. Since 1979 she has been working as a researcher, first at the Norwegian Fund for Market and Distribution Research and then at the National Institute for Consumer Research from 1989. Her main research interests are consumers’ shopping behaviour and attitudes toward shopping, focusing on opening hours, cross-border shopping, consumers’ environmental behaviour, and consumers’ price consciousness.

Dario Padovan is Senior Researcher and Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Turin, Department of Culture, Politics and Society. He has, for a long time, worked on the history of the social sciences, environmental sociology, social metabolism, sustainable consumption. He has recently been carrying out research on antisemitism and islamophobia, sustainability, environmental accounting, urban metabolism regulation, sociology of practices and smart energy grids.

Catherine Rousseau (d.o.b. 1960) is an agricultural engineer, specializing in consumption, food and sustainable development. She has worked at the Research and Information Center of Consumer Organizations (CRIOC) in Belgium and has coordinated its research department. From 2009 to 2014 she was advisor to the Minister of Environment of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for environmental education, relationships with associations, transition of the local food system and policy support for local sustainable development.

Frieder Rubik (d.o.b. 1956) studied national economics at the University of Heidelberg and received his PhD in economics from the University of Kassel (Germany). He is senior researcher at the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) and head of its Ecological Product Policy department at the Heidelberg office. His research areas are product information schemes/ecolabelling, sustainable consumption and production patterns (SCP), integrated product policy (IPP), life cycle assessment (LCA) and evaluation and assessment.

Mari Rysst holds a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Oslo (2008), on preteens and their relationship to popular culture, consumer culture and construction of gender and identity. She is currently working as senior researcher at the National Institute for Consumer research in Oslo and at Lillehammer University College. Her main research interests are children, childhood, gender, body and migration.

Gerd Scholl (d.o.b. 1966) is an economist by training and received his PhD in marketing from University of Oldenburg (Germany). He is a senior researcher at the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) in Berlin and head of its Corporate Management and Consumption department. His main research areas are sustainable consumption and production (SCP), sustainable marketing, sustainable product service systems, and consumers and new technologies.

Pål Strandbakken (d.o.b. 1957) holds a magister degree in sociology from the University of Oslo from 1987. His thesis was on the Protestant ethic. He also holds a PhD from the University of Tromsø, where his thesis was on product durability from 2007. He is currently working as a Research Fellow at SIFO in Oslo. His main research interests are household energy consumption, material culture and sociological theory. Pekka Sulkunen is a professor of sociology at the University of Helsinki.

Pekka Sulkunen is a professor of sociology at the University of Helsinki. He was a Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2011–14), President (2011–13) and Member of the Executive Board (2007–11) of the European Sociological Association, and a long-time President of the Westermarck Society. His research interests are the public sector, power and democracy, social theory, and addictions. He has a total of 230 scientific publications, including 34 refereed articles in English. He is a Member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and received the Jellinek Memorial Award in 1997 for cultural and policy research on alcohol.

Iselin Theien (1974) holds a PhD in history from the University of Oxford on the fascist movement in Norway between 1933 and 1940. She has been studying the organization of consumers, Scandinavian consumer policy in the social-democratic period and the history of the consumer cooperativemovement. She held positions at the University of Oslo and later at SIFO.

Harald Throne-Holst (d.o.b. 1970) gained an MSc in chemical engineering from the Norwegian Institute of Technology in 1994. In 2012 he finished his PhD thesis on ‘Consumers, Nanotechnology and Responsibilities: Operationalizing the Risk Society’ at the Faculty of Management and Governance at the University in Twente with Arie Rip as his supervisor. He is currently working as Head of Research at SIFO, where he has worked since 1996. His main research interests are governance of emerging technologies, sustainable consumption and energy use in households.

Triin Vihalemm (1968) is Professor of Communication Research at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu, Estonia. She earned her PhD in mass communication in 1999 from the University of Tartu. She is currently Professor of Communication Research Her main fields of
research are sociology of communication, collective identity, culture and subcultures of transitional societies.

Gunnar Vittersø (1963) holds a PhD in human geography from the University of Oslo. He worked at the Alternative Future project from 1993 to 1995 and from 1996 he became involved with the National Institut.


Published mars 2015