Towards sustainable society - transforming materialist consumerism

Arto O. Salonen, Mauri Åhlberg

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


    The mankind has faced three regimes: hunter-gatherers, agrarian societies and
    industrial societies. A transition towards sustainable society will be the next regime. It means a fundamental re-orientation of society and the economy. It is based on knowledge, thinking, value, attitude and behavior change. Finnish university students (n = 198) assessed their attitudes and achievements in implementation of sustainable development in their daily life. The data were collected using a theory-grounded semantic differential technique. A measurement instrument was created by balancing 33 variables of ecological, economic and social sustainability. The variables were indicators
    of attitudes and behavior. Post-materialistic behavior was operationalized as follows: (a) importance of owning is decreased, (b) services are used instead of owning goods, and (c) renewal of goods is motivated by real needs. Performing of logistic regression analysis found that the difference with the
    most and less post-materialistic way behaving groups was statistically significant in the following
    attitudes: health-promoting lifestyle, recycling, organic food, water conservation, maintaining of civil
    society, favoring the eco-labeled products and using renewable energy resources. These themes are
    discussed in the paper and a model of sustainability promoting social change is created.
    Keywords: Sustainable development, consumerism, post-materialism, attitudes, social change
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTrends and Future of Sustainable Development : Proceedings of the Conference “Trends and Future of Sustainable Development”
    EditorsHanna Lakkala, Jarmo Vehmas
    Number of pages17
    Place of PublicationTurku
    PublisherUniversity of Turku, Finland Futures Research Centre
    Publication date2011
    Pages185 - 201
    ISBN (Electronic)978-952-249-131-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

    Publication series

    NameFFRC eBOOK
    PublisherFinland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku
    ISSN (Electronic)1797-1322

    Bibliographical note

    Julkaistu 1.3.2012
    Proceeding volume:

    Fields of Science

    • 516 Educational sciences
    • sustainable development
    • consumerism
    • post-materialism
    • attitudes
    • social change

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