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  • Author or Editor: Bente Halkier x
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Much contemporary public debate focuses on food consumption. Societal and individual health, risk, climate change, sustainability, animal welfare and food quality are all issues which influence the culturally established or traditional food routines practised in every day life. This cultural contestation and debate suggests that consumption in everyday life is already a site of normative action. Yet existing research has focused largely either on political and ethical consumption, or on tacitly reproduced routines in consumption. The mundane processes in which explicit and implicit ways of handling normative issues are entangled have received little attention, either empirically or theoretically. This article seeks to consider these issues in detail, suggesting a new framework for empirical investigations of processes of reproduction and change in consumption patterns. It introduces two new terms in mundane normativity – expectable and acceptable consumption – and uses examples to show how these terms can help better understand mundane normativity from a practice theoretical perspective. Material from four different Danish research studies on contested food consumption exemplifies these new terms. The article suggests that the terms expectable and acceptable consumption can enable consumption researchers to examine more variety in relation to the normative in consumption and investigate the intertwined processes of reproduction and change in consumption better. Furthermore, the article argues that analysing mundane normativity points towards an issue in consumption that practice theoretical research has not yet addressed sufficiently – social hierarchies.

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In contemporary society, it is widely acknowledged that current patterns of consumption are fundamentally unsustainable because a large percentage of emissions comes from consumption related to food, mobility and housing practices. However, current debates and existing research on the need to change daily practices to address climate change tend to focus on single consumption activities, thereby paying too little attention to how practices are embedded in daily routines connected to a multitude of other practices. Instead of considering consumption activities related to food, mobility and housing as separate from one another, we examined how they connect and overlap with each other in the everyday lives of young Danes and what implications this might have for the ability to transition to less resource-intensive consumption. We do so through an analysis of data from interviews, mobilities mapping and photo diaries with 20 households, for a total of 30 young Danes (age 25–35) who are in the process of moving to new housing. With an outset in theories of practice, the article shows how the relations between the householders’ routines concerning food, mobility and housing become interwoven and embedded in bundles and complexes of practices characterised by conveniencisation. We argue that the conveniencisation in the case of bundles and complexes among food, mobility and housing practices create pathways towards more resource-intensive consumption as an implication due to the ‘stickiness’ of co-dependence in complexes and even looser interdependence in the bundling of food, mobility and housing practices in everyday lives.

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The frequency of video game consumption is a contested topic among scholars. In existing research, the extent of video game use is often related to the terminologies ‘excessive gaming’, ‘video game addiction’ and ‘problem gaming’. Yet the socio-material and practical qualities of gaming in everyday life have received little theoretical and empirical attention in the research on frequent video gaming. By considering these issues this article aims at detaching time spent gaming from a problem framework through a practice theoretical perspective. The empirical data stems from a qualitative study of young Danish adults who are frequently engaged in gaming. The article finds that gaming is constituted by multiple socio-material components that make it highly convenient to consume in everyday life. First, the devices and applications involved in gaming setups conjure mundane, and not focused, engagements with video games. Second, the mobility of gaming enables it to be simultaneously performed with other everyday practicalities such as cooking or commuting. Third, frequent video gaming may occur because the affordances of gaming grant easy access and flexible options for socialising. The convenience of gaming suggests that frequent engagements with video gaming can be viewed as a consequence of how people value their time use.

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