Publication details

Ecological habitus intergenerationally reproduced : The children of Czech ‘voluntary simplifiers’ and their lifestyle



Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Consumer Culture
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Field Sociology, demography
Keywords Voluntary simplicity; sustainable consumption; social reproduction; intergenerational transmission of lifestyles; ecological habitus; longitudinal qualitative research; Czech Republic
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Description The intergenerational reproduction of values and lifestyles has been at the centre of attention for the social sciences for several decades. However, only rarely has this topic been examined from the perspective of environmentally friendly lifestyles. In this article, we build on unique longitudinal research that includes generations of parents and children from Czech ‘voluntarily simple’ families. Drawing on sociological theories of consumption and the Bourdieusian concept of habitus, we deal with the question of whether and how the intergenerational transmission of eco-habitus emerges. The original research with the parents – called ‘the Colourful’ – was conducted by the Czech sociologist Hana Librová in 1992, 2002 and 2015. We participated in the third wave, conducting 12 in-depth interviews with the Colourful and supplementing it with 21 interviews with their adult children, focusing on how they look back on their childhood and in what respect their lifestyles and attitudes differ from those of their parents. We describe the reproduction of the Colourful’s habitus and identify the main lines of influence that may play a role in this process: positive reflections on a non-affluent childhood, awareness of the values behind simplicity, a liberal model of upbringing, the higher cultural capital of the families, the family atmosphere, religiosity and diverse experiences among siblings related to their birth order. We show that while for the Colourful it was typical to revolt against parents, their own habitus has been reproduced relatively successfully.
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