Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Nancy Neiman Auerbach
Conscious consumption blogs are at the center of a particular online community where eco-friendly products are popularized. Through the lens of these blogs, this paper analyzes discourse around identity, purchasing, sustainability, lifestyle, community, and activism, to investigate the forces at work in the conscious consumption movement and identify where there is a need for a shift towards a more political environmentalism. As an environmentalist strategy, conscious consumption disproportionately centers the consumer angle, constructing personal possessions as symbols of sustainability. Language analysis reveals strong individualistic messages about personal belief, preference, and benefit which overwhelm any sense of communal good. Instead, motivation is tied to personal morals (holding oneself accountable for the environmental impact of consumption). In place of organized action, the goal of conscious consumption is self-fulfillment as a result of progressing on one’s personal journey. This is encouraged through self-education, voluntary awareness campaigns and leading by example. Overall, conscious consumption blogs’ strong emphasis on self improvement contributes to individualization of responsibility, discouraging followers from collectively imagining new political possibilities outside of individual households.
O'Brien, Abigail, "Green Looks Good on You: The Rhetoric and Moral Identity of Conscious Consumption Blogs" (2018). Scripps Senior Theses. 1161.