Researchers from the MID4S group has been involved in a larger Mistra application on Sustainable Consumption. The application is built a consortium with 11 (!) researching partners and many municipalities and other organizations. Let’s all cross our fingers, decision is made in June, and if we get the grant the research will start in the autumn. Cecilia Katzeff (honorary member in hour team) and Ulrika Gunnarsson Östling are the main applicants, but Elina Eriksson has also been involved as a member of the management team of the application. Below is the longish abstract of the application.
The planned research programme Mistra Sustainable Lifestyles will be grounded in everyday practices and lifestyles, around which people organize their lives. Focus will be on change of current unsustainable consumption practices in Sweden. The overall objective of the programme is to create conditions for a society, where sustainable lifestyles is the norm; where unsustainable consumption practices are fading; and, the negative impact from consumption on the environment is decreasing; and where quality of life is increased or maintained. In order to achieve this, one objective is to consolidate knowledge on how sustainable lifestyles are formed; how they relate to quality of life; and how the transition to a society where sustainable lifestyles is the norm can be initiated and sustained by different actors in society. The programme applies a design oriented approach for change, working with living labs and municipalities at sites in different parts of Sweden. This approach in combination with the framework of social practice theory seek to understand the mechanisms for change in lifestyles. Another objective is to understand how instruments and methods can be formed to stimulate the emergence of sustainable consumption practices. The objectives will be reached in collaboration with academic partners, local governments, governmental agencies, civil society actors, businesses, and citizens.
The core of the programme during its four years is an organisation of activities we call “interventions and provocations”. The provocations are based on results from the interventions. Provocations may, for instance, consist of exhibitions, campaigns, workshops, debates with politicians, new policy proposals, etc. Concepts developed from interventions may also result in new services, start- up companies, new types of business models, etc. Interventions are carried out both with private citizens in their real environment and with municipalities. The role of municipalities is central in their link to citizens and through their ongoing work regarding consumption and lifestyle issues. Researchers coach and follow households during the intervention year and document their learnings, barriers and successes. Insights from the intervention year are conceptualized into provocations, with the purpose of questioning norms, sparkle debate and inspire to upscaling. In addition to researchers the conceptualization phase also engages service developers, the civil society and other stakeholders. The provocations are externally directed activities and may consist of exhibitions, campaigns, films, or debates with politicians and citizens.
The programme is based on the theoretical framework for social practice theory, which clarifies important dimensions interacting to shape social practices. This framework will also guide us in identifying where changes need to be accomplished in order to establish sustainable consumption as a norm. Conditions for a transformative change is created through the wide constellation of the consortium, including researchers, governmental agencies, local governments, civil society, companies and private citizens. The research is based upon participation from these groups and a transdisciplinary approach including environmental science, design research, behaviour science, political science, city planning, and agriculture. The Mistra Sustainable Lifestyles programme consists of 6 work packages, all tightly integrated. Interventions and provocations will be carried out at four geographically distributed locations in Sweden. Additional locations will take part through workshops and testing of concepts. Municipalities and universities are represented at these locations.