Sustainable Consumption Among Brazilian Young: Daily Practices and Political Participation

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 10:45 AM
Room: F203
Oral Presentation
Fatima PORTILHO , Social Sciences Graduate Program on Development, Agriculture and Society, Univ Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro/RJ, Brazil
Livia BARBOSA , Caepm, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro/RJ, Brazil
Several evidences point to changes in Brazilian consumption practices that might be interpreted as a growing greening and politicization of consumption, similar to what has been occurring in other countries. In this process, consumption practices are perceived and used as a way of political pressure to improve social and environmental conditions. In this article we present the results of a research aiming to map political consumerism phenomena in Brazil, focusing on young people. The research was divided into two different methodological phases, a quantitative and a qualitative one: (1) a survey conducted in 2010 among 457 young people aged between 16 and 25, belonging to upper, middle and lower middle socio-economic segments, all living in the two biggest cities of the country, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo; and (2) a focus group with a total of 51 young with the same socio demographic characteristics, conducted in 2012. The research shows that involvement in sustainable consumption among young people in Brazil is low. It can be explained, partially, by the way that young people in Brazil remain under the influence of the family much longer than in Europe and North America, and therefore do not have to perform household tasks or face the dilemma of making consumption choices at their daily lives. It also can be explained by the importance and activism of Brazilian social movements that are responsible for many social changes, thereby rendering individual action in daily lives somewhat secondary. We finally point to another relevant cultural aspect of Brazilian society, namely the way that individuality and a sense of responsibility are formed. We conclude, therefore, that while global tendencies may be identified in many countries, the way these develop depends on the institutional configuration of each society.