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This study compares household energy use, environmental awareness, and consumerism among residents of small towns in Sweden and America. The author, a cultural anthropologist, uses quantitative and qualitative data from fieldwork to formulate a holistic analysis. The study considers broader questions about the uses of energy, consumer goods, quality of life, and the environment. The industrial worldview is critiqued at both individual and institutional levels. It concludes with a call for a more spiritual approach to environmentalism and social issues.

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Editorial Reviews

Erickson (anthropology, U. of Minnesota-Twin Cities) contends that people agonize over minutiae of environmental issues because they lack more general guidelines and rarely question consumerism either as ideology or practice. Finding that the Swedish welfare state and the US competitive capitalism are only variants of industrial consumer society, she addresses larger questions about consumerism that rose from her investigations about energy use and environmental awareness in daily life. Her answer to the question, by the way, is to bring your own bag. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275957667
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/30/1997
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

RITA J. ERICKSON is a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Communities and Their Contexts 11
2 House Contents and Fuel Consumption 27
3 Household Activities 43
4 Consumer Awareness: Energy, Self-Image, and Conservation 53
5 Energy Consumption: Cultural Mandates and Individual Rationales 69
6 Energy Conservation: Cultural Sanctions and Individual Motives 83
7 The New Environmental Focus 93
8 Consumerism 113
9 Worldview 133
Conclusion 147
Appendixes 159
Bibliography 165
Index 173
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