9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN12 Environment and Society

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Consumerism and Environment Building I, 1E6

Gardening as a consumer power in Finland and Britain

Urban living is a growing political and ecological issue. The global consequences of ecological problems are widely recognized in both political agendas and in people?s everyday life. To be able to constrain climate change societies are trying to plan urban structure more compact and effective. However, most of the Finns are dreaming of life in an own house with garden and forest nearby. In British culture gardening has also been linked to lifestyle.

The starting point of our paper is that plenty of people are looking for more influence to there neighborhood. The lack of power in political arena are frustrating citizens. The only power they have is to impress their negative attitudes: ?not to my backyard?. In this case people tend to use there power as consumers. We analyze Finnish and British media discussion of garden practices. The empirical data we concentrate is Finnish gardening magazine Kotipuutarha and British gardening magazine The Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society / The Garden (since 1975) from 1941 until 2006 every fifth year.

The results show that the meanings of gardening changes from a material object to an experience in both gardening magazines. The ideal of kitchen garden has embraced to ideals of enjoyment and daydreaming. In addition, the changes in ideals means growth in consumer spending on garden merchandise. The changes in practices were linked with the technological and material transformations of gardening. In order to discuss climate change constraining we need to focus on individual desires and their material reality. However, consumer behavior is not easily conducted by politics. Daydreams and ideals has to taken seriously in urban planning. Otherwise citizenship turns over to consumerism in urban living.