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Doing laundry in consumption corridors: wellbeing and everyday life

Godin, Laurence
Laakso, Senja
Published in Sustainability. 2020, vol. 16, no. 1, p. 99-113
Abstract In this article, we explore the possibilities for a transformation toward more sustainable energy usage by engaging with mundane activities, such as doing the laundry. Across European households, laundry practices rely on social norms and material arrangements, which makes these practices rather “sticky” and resistant to change. Through the lens of consumption corridors, and accounting for wellbeing in relation to the basic needs of participation, health, and autonomy, we study laundry practices and their transformation in 73 Finnish and Swiss households that took part in a challenge to reduce their weekly wash cycles by half over a four-week period in autumn 2018. By using both qualitative and quantitative data, we analyze how participants defined minimum and maximum standards for cleanliness and convenience, for themselves and for others, over the course of the challenge period. Specifically, we consider how the sequencing of tasks associated with “doing the laundry” changed, as well as the significance of social relations and sensations in representations of social norms. The participants' experiences helped uncover how setting limits toward consumption corridors can be achieved, whereby reductions in consumption can result in sustainable wellbeing.
Keywords Social practicesHousehold-energy useConsumption corridorsSufficiencyWellbeingLaundry
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GODIN, Laurence, LAAKSO, Senja, SAHAKIAN, Marlyne. Doing laundry in consumption corridors: wellbeing and everyday life. In: Sustainability, 2020, vol. 16, n° 1, p. 99-113. doi: 10.1080/15487733.2020.1785095 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:139720

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Deposited on : 2020-08-18

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