Locking-down instituted practices: Understanding sustainability in the context of ‘domestic’ consumption in the remaking

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Abstract

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the world placed communities under ‘lockdown’. Various practices of consumption were uprooted from their instituted settings and re-rooted in homes. This unprecedented reorganisation of normality resulted in increased instances of domestic consumption as practices occurring in offices, gyms and eateries were forced into homes, demanding the acquisition of materials and altering expectations of what homes are for. This article contributes to literature on COVID-19 and practice-based consumption research by complicating optimistic narratives about the potential for this disruption to downsize the consumer economy. Combining qualitative household interviews, with secondary data about wider trends, and historical reflection on changes in the meaning of the ‘home’ in the UK, we reveal how the re-rooting of instituted practices structures material acquisition and spikes desire for more domestic space. Recognising that professional practices and institutions have taken on increasing significance for domestic consumption, with stay-at-home orders blurring boundaries between home, work and leisure, we conclude by arguing that future research and sustainability policy should attend more to the institutional qualities of practices.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2021