Smartphone-enabled social change: Evidence from the Fairphone case?

Autor(en): Haucke, Franziska Verena
Stichwörter: Degrowth; ECOLOGICAL CITIZENSHIP; ECONOMY; Engineering; Engineering, Environmental; Environmental Sciences; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Green & Sustainable Science & Technology; LIFE-STYLE; Lifestyle movement; MANAGEMENT RESEARCH; MEDIA; MOVEMENTS; PARTIAL LEAST-SQUARES; POLITICAL CONSUMERISM; Science & Technology - Other Topics; Smartphone; Social change; Structural equation modeling; SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION; TECHNOLOGY
Erscheinungsdatum: 2018
Volumen: 197
Ausgabe: 2, SI
Startseite: 1719
Seitenende: 1730
There are two axioms that have shaped the degrowth discussion, namely one on the reduction of production and consumption and one on the necessity of value and attitude change in society to respect environmental limits. Surprisingly little research has focused on the role of technology in connection to value change, consumption behavior and degrowth. This gap is linked to a widely held assumption of technological innovation acting contrary to degrowth. In contrast, this paper suggests that technological innovation needs to be connected to degrowth. In particular, the fast evolution of information and communication technologies in recent years points to their importance for the global civil society. Given the scope of sustainability challenges connected to these technologies and smartphones in particular, this paper argues that a degrowth movement going hand in hand with technological development is only made possible, if sustainable alternatives for highly demanded products are offered. Specifically, this study draws on lifestyle movements as the nexus between consumption, degrowth and technology. Three core concepts are found to influence the attendance to degrowth-related consumer movements: a sustainable lifestyle, alternative forms of consumption and social commitment, all of which are assumed to have a positive effect. Empirically this paper draws on the case of the Fairphone, a company that applies sustainable characteristics to a smartphone. Data collected in a survey via online fora of the Fairphone from November 4-29, 2015 are analyzed using a structural equation modeling with partial least squares. Results indicate that a sustainable lifestyle represents the dominant factor explaining the involvement with the Fairphone. Surprisingly, the findings show that alternative consumption seems to negatively influence the involvement with the Fairphone and social commitment seems to play a minor role in the model. These aspects point to the Fairphone as a technical artifact, centered on a choice for a sustainable lifestyle. Future research needs to reach clarification on the relationship of alternative consumption and degrowth related movements and whether the negative effect is case specific or beyond. Furthermore, future studies need to delve deeper into lifestyle decisions as a leverage point towards degrowth, especially on lifestyles understood as a from of activism to change contemporary society. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 09596526
DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.07.014

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