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Young Adults’ Learning about Sustainable Consumption in Informal ‘Situations’

Doctoral project
Konstanze Wegmann, M.A.

Sustainable consumption is a highly relevant, sometimes conflictual, topic of debates within and between the political, scientific and economical discourse, as well as of media discourse embracing and pervading all of the other discourses. In some countries, it is conceptualised as a goal of formal learning, but hard to implement successfully, as the step from knowing what is normatively seen as right behaviour (in this educational-political discourse about sustainable consumption) and changing one’s own everyday behaviour is huge. This raises the question, of how young people who actually engage in aspects of sustainable consumption (e.g. avoidance of plastic, sharing of food) learn/have learned about it? How do they negotiate their position in discourse in this ‘sustainability arena’, confronted with different individual and collective actors resp. social worlds? Which role does mediatization play?

For the aim of this dissertation project, narrative interviews with ‘sustainable consumers’ (20 to 30 years old) are held and evaluated using Situational Analysis by Adele Clarke (2005). The informal learning ‘situations’ are taken as empirical starting point for visualising and analysing all ‘elements’ (e.g. individual and collective actors and non-human actants, like media and discourses) relevant for the young adults’ learning processes, their negotiation of positions in discourse, as well as the (power) relations between all of these elements.

:  Konstanze Wegmann

Konstanze Wegmann

Institution Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research of the University of Bremen (ZeMKI)