Hadley, Charlotte (2018) An Ethnographic Study of Allotmenteering: Practising Sustainability? Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

In an era where global climate change, ecological degradation and the depletion of natural resources have become increasingly prevalent, the need to identify ways in which we can pursue more sustainable ways of living and conserve an ecological balance has become of great importance in society. The pernicious effects that society’s (global) food production and consumption practices have on the environment is one prominent area of concern.

Much of the existing literature that has explored environmentally responsible consumption has been preoccupied with developing an understanding of the environmentally responsible consumer, the social, symbolic and political significance of environmentally responsible consumption and the potentiality of alternative food systems to alleviate the environmental consequences of our globalised food system and other issues concerned with sustainability on a broader level. Conversely, very few studies have drawn attention to everyday practices and the ways in which consumers engage with environmental issues on an everyday, practical level. This is crucial to gaining an insight into the ways in which we can envisage change and naturalise more environmentally responsible ways of living into routine, everyday consumption practices.

To remedy this gap, this thesis explores the practice of allotmenteering from a practicetheoretical perspective and attempts to advance our understanding of the ways in which consumers engage with environmental issues on a day-to-day basis. Based upon an ethnographic approach, this study develops a rich, in-depth understanding of embodied, (mainly) skilled practitioners, processes of ‘doing’ allotmenteering and other practices embedded in the practice of allotmenteering.

This study contributes to the field of environmentally responsible consumption by demonstrating how allotmenteers engage in environmentally responsible consumption patterns unintentionally. More specifically, it shows how these consumption patterns transpire through allotmenteers’ close intimate engagement with nature and through the ways in which they personally invest themselves; their time, energy and effort into processes of nurturing and domesticating nature. Thirdly, it shows how the practice of allotmenteering has the potential to trigger more unsustainable consumption patterns. These findings have implications for the ways in which we understand and make sense of environmentally responsible consumption.

Charlotte Hadley FINAL THESIS.PDF - Accepted Version
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