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"Consumerist predators"? : emerging lifestyles between McDonaldization and sustainability perspectives ; the case of highly qualified employees (HQEs) in India

"Raubtier Verbraucher"? Zur Entstehung von Lebensstilen zwischen McDonaldisierung und nachhaltigen Perspektiven: hochqualifizierte Arbeitskräfte in Indien
[working paper]

Lange, Hellmuth; Meier, Lars

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Corporate Editor Universität Bremen, Forschungszentrum Nachhaltigkeit (artec)
Abstract "In industrializing countries new groups of consumers with remarkable purchasing power are emerging. Representing a 'new middle class' they are seen as a carrier and promoter of a so-called 'western way of life' beyond the OECD countries. They are presented as having a consumerist predator lifestyle which stands in conflict with the requirements for a sustainable future. Furthermore, they are imputed a profound lack of a sense of responsibility towards society. However, such a 'civil society spirit' is a core prerequisite for coping with the challenge of changing existing lifestyles to insure a more sustainable future. Based upon data from a survey this paper demonstrates that these assumptions are flawed and constitute a misleading perception of the so-called new middle class and their potential role as contributor to and even promoter of a more sustainable future in industrializing countries. The situation is contradictory: on one hand they are clearly the most relevant agents of spreading non-sustainable lifestyles, predominantly confined to the OECD countries in the past. On the other hand relevant parts of them do acknowledge social responsibilities beyond the traditional ambit of their families, and they also acknowledge responsibilities to contribute to a more sustainable future. Thus, comparing the middle class of industrializing countries to those of the (post)industrializing countries, the most interesting question is not whether sustainability is explicitly an issue or not. It seems far more interesting to ask: what are the specific profiles of attitudes and everyday practices of particular groups of the 'new middle class' in particular countries, and are these conducive to a more sustainable future in terms of both social and ecological responsibility? In pursuit of this our case study focuses on HQEs in India." (author's abstract)
Keywords middle class; highly qualified worker; consumption behavior; consumption; social responsibility; environmental behavior; sustainable development; habits; social behavior; value; value-orientation; globalization; India; life style; sustainability; capacity to work
Classification General Sociology, Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Sociology, Sociological Theories; Sociology of Economics
Method empirical; qualitative empirical
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
City Bremen
Page/Pages 16 p.
Series artec-paper, 143
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne