Could Vegans and Lycra Cyclists be Bad for the Planet? Theorizing the Role of Moralized Minority Practice Identities in Processes of Societal-Level Change

Tim Kurz, Annayah M.B. Prosser, Anna Rabinovich, Saffron O'Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Shifting society to more sustainable modes of consumption poses significant challenges to the way people live their lives. Many everyday practices commensurate with addressing sustainability goals are currently minority pursuits, especially in highly industrialized countries. Such minority practices often come to form the basis of social identities (e.g., as “vegans” or “cyclists”). These moralized minority practice identities (MMPIs) represent the focus of this theoretical article. We theorize the nature and genesis of MMPIs, discuss how their characteristics shape intergroup interactions, and consider implications for societal-level change. We make the contentious suggestion that, contrary to what might be predicted on the basis of social identity approaches to social change, strong identification with “green practice” groups may hamper, rather than facilitate, societal-level shifts toward sustainability. We discuss the need for policy approaches that enable people to experiment with new sustainable practices without the pressure to commit to a particular practice identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-100
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Volume76
Issue number1
Early online date25 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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