Sustainable lifestyles: towards a relational approach

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  • Jessica Böhme
  • Zack Walsh
  • Christine Wamsler

The concept of sustainable lifestyles is said to have reached the limits of its usefulness. As commonly understood, it impedes an effective response to our increasingly complex world, and the associated societal challenges. In this context, the emerging paradigm of relationality might offer a way forward to renew our current understanding and approach. We explore this possibility in this study. First, we systematize if, and how, the current dominant social paradigm represents a barrier to sustainable lifestyles. Second, we analyze how a relational approach could help to overcome these barriers. On the basis of our findings, we develop a Relational Lifestyle Framework (RLF). Our aim is to advance the current knowledge by illustrating how sustainable lifestyles are a manifestation of identified patterns of thinking, being, and acting that are embedded in today’s “socioecological” realities. The RLF revitalizes the field of sustainable lifestyle change, as it offers a new understanding for further reflection, and provides new directions for policy and transformation research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSustainability Science
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)2063-2076
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 09.2022

    Research areas

  • Eco-justice, Inner-outer transformation, Paradigms, Relational ontology, Relationality, Systems thinking
  • Biology