Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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What future for collaborative consumption? A practice theoretical account
Fraanje, Walter ; Spaargaren, G. - \ 2019
Journal of Cleaner Production 208 (2019). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 499 - 508.
collaborative consumption - practice theory - social change
Collaborative consumption indicates the emergence and rapid spread of a new set of consumption practices. Originally praised as an antidote to an unsustainable market economy, there is growing concern that collaborative consumption increasingly follows a conventional market rationality of payments
and profits, thereby undermining its initial social and ‘civil society’ aspects. This article investigates the future of collaborative consumption through case studies of the Peerby and MyWheels platforms, which represent new social practices of borrowing and renting. We use the sociological theories of Theodore Schatzki and Randall Collins to analyse the key factors that determine the present and future trajectories of these practices. We show how human agency and emotions in a dynamic between companies, practices, and practitioners are crucial in shaping the future of collaborative consumption. The findings suggest two diverging trajectories: one that sticks to the social aspects of connecting
people through sharing things, and another that heads towards impersonal forms of collaborative consumption. The latter is primarily organized by companies, which introduce new rules (payments and insurances) and technologies (drones and autonomous vehicles) to make the shared use of things more fast, efficient, and profitable.
Designing trust: how strategic intermediaries choreograph homeowners’ low-carbon retrofit experience
Wilde, M. de; Spaargaren, G. - \ 2019
Building Research and Information 47 (2019)4. - ISSN 0961-3218 - p. 362 - 374.
houses - market transformation - middle-out - retrofit - service design - strategic intermediaries - sustainable buildings - trust
In the Netherlands, as in other European countries, the uncertain, fragmented character of the low-carbon retrofit market hampers a transition towards sustainable housing. Connecting homeowners to supply-side actors of low-carbon retrofit procedures, products and technologies in ways satisfactory to homeowners forms an important, challenging task. Service design for the benefit of a customer-centric perspective might be a solution. This paper investigates the potential role of strategic intermediaries as agents of change located between supply-side actors and homeowners. It asks how strategic intermediaries choreograph low-carbon retrofit experiences of homeowners through the design of a ‘customer journey’. Trust is a crucial determinant. This paper distinguishes between three customer-journey designs in which, depending on the role envisioned for homeowners, a different trust relation is foregrounded: a private design envisions homeowners as passive consumers who trust in the expertise offered by the intermediary; a civic design envisions homeowners as engaged consumer-citizens who trust their neighbours as reliable service representatives; and a public design envisions homeowners as critical customers who trust in the retrofit technologies and products offered. This implies an important role for policy actors in realizing ways for scaling up and institutionalizing all three low-carbon retrofit customer-journey designs on a national level
Householders co-managing energy systems: space for collaboration?
Smale, R. ; Spaargaren, G. ; Vliet, B.J.M. van - \ 2018
Building Research and Information 47 (2018)5. - ISSN 0961-3218 - p. 585 - 597.
domestic energy - energy behaviours - energy management - smart grids - smart homes - techological change - trust
The potential role of households as ‘co-managers’ of energy in smart grids is widely discussed in the social science literature. Much remains uncertain about the social relations and practices emerging around novel smart grid technologies and their contribution to sustainability. Drawing on 14 ‘show-and-tell’ home tours with householders in a smart grid trial, an analysis is presented of how home energy management (HEM) is performed in everyday life. The focus is on three technologies: monitoring technologies, smart heat pumps and home batteries. How and why householders do (not) engage with energy management during the pilot project is described. When householders participate in HEM practices, they gain energy management understandings and an awareness of smart grid objectives. Since HEM practices are shared between householders and actors from the energy provision system, they display particular ways of distributing responsibilities, power and agency over technologies, experts and householders. The time and space granted to these three smart grid technologies are shown to depend on the trust relationships between householders and the more or less absent providers of technologies and services. These insights emphasize the need to develop smart grid solutions reflexively with respect to the different spaces and practices in households in which they operate.
Political Consumerism and the Social Practice Perspective
Oosterveer, P.J.M. ; Spaargaren, G. ; Kloppenburg, S. - \ 2018
In: The Oxford Handbook of Political Consumerism / Boström, Magnus, Micheletti, Michele, Oosterveer, Peter, Oxford University Press - ISBN 9780190629038
practice-arrangement bundles - reflexive agency - meso dynamics of social change - consumption junction - governing practices
Social practice approaches, developed in sociology, contribute to the study of political consumerism by moving away from individual accounts of political consumerism and towards the study of everyday practices and their changes. This chapter presents the main conceptual tools and empirical orientations and connects these with political consumerism thinking. This leads to a focus on social practices, the embeddedness of different social practices, and the roles of power and information. This framework is then applied in empirical examples of energy, food, and mobility to illustrate the additional insights that social practices can contribute to political consumerism. The conclusion explores how social practice approaches can contribute to a better understanding of dynamics of agency, power, and change in everyday consumption.
Fisher responses to private monitoring interventions in an Indonesian tuna handline fishery
Doddema, Mandy ; Spaargaren, Gert ; Wiryawan, Budy ; Bush, Simon R. - \ 2018
Fisheries Research 208 (2018). - ISSN 0165-7836 - p. 49 - 57.
Fisher behavior - Fishery-dependent data collection - Information technology - Small-scale fisheries - tuna

Information is central to the assessment and regulation of fisheries, yet underreporting remains a persistent problem, especially in the small-scale and developing country fisheries. Private actors, using a variety of enumeration approaches and technologies, have started to supplement government enumeration programs to meet a range of reporting obligations. This paper introduces a social practices approach to understand the response of fishers to private enumeration interventions. We base our analysis on the introduction of landing enumeration, fisher logbooks and Spot Trace devices by the Indonesian NGO, Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI) in a Fair Trade USA certified handline tuna fishery in Eastern Indonesia. The results show how a social practices approach offers a grounded understanding of responses to monitoring interventions that extends beyond conventional analyses of fishery-dependent data collection. The paper concludes that understanding data collection as a set of socially mediated practices that intervene in established fishing and landing practices can help to improve the design of fisheries data collection.

Introduction to Part Seven: Sustainability and Inequality: Reviewing Critical Issues in Understanding Consumer-Food Relationships in Global Modernity
Spaargaren, G. ; Oosterveer, P.J.M. - \ 2018
In: The SAGE Handbook of Nature / Marsden, Terry, London : Sage - ISBN 9781446298572 - p. 619 - 638.
Accessing Sustainable Food: New Figurations of Food Provision in the Making?
Oosterveer, P.J.M. ; Spaargaren, G. - \ 2018
In: The SAGE Handbook of Nature / Marsden, Terry, London : Sage - ISBN 9781446298572 - p. 701 - 718.
Position paper : Position paper tbv rondetafel Voedsel d.d. 5 april 2018
Spaargaren, G. - \ 2018
Wageningen : Wageningen University & Research - 2
Position paper tbv rondetafel Voedsel d.d. 5 april 2018
The social dynamics of smart grids : On households, information flows & sustainable energy transitions
Naus, Joeri - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Gert Spaargaren, co-promotor(en): Bas van Vliet; Hilje van der Horst. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463436977 - 234
households - sustainable energy - energy consumption - supply - energy policy - netherlands - huishoudens - duurzame energie - energiegebruik - aanbod - energiebeleid - nederland

In international climate and energy policy the development of smart grids features as a critical new step in the transition towards a sustainable energy future. Smart grids enable two-way energy and information exchange between households and energy providers. Drawing on social practice theories, transition theories and informational governance, this thesis seeks to shed light on the changes that are taking place at the level of households: How do householders understand, handle and use new information flows? How can we conceptualise the interplay between households and smart energy systems? And what does this mean for householder participation in smart energy transitions? The thesis suggests that the key to understanding and governing the social dynamics of smart grids lies in the ‘Home Energy Management-practices’ (HEM-practices) that are emerging at the interface between households and wider energy systems.

Companies in search of the green consumer : Sustainable consumption and production strategies of companies and intermediary organizations in Thailand
Thongplew, Natapol ; Spaargaren, Gert ; Koppen, C.S.A. van - \ 2017
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 83 (2017). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 12 - 21.
Consumer roles - CSR-strategies - Intermediary organizations - SCP-strategies of companies - Thailand

Over the past two decades, Thailand, as an emerging economy, has developed sustainable consumption and production (SCP) policies and strategies to a considerable extent. While the first phase of SCP policy development has primarily focused on upstream actors and production processes, the second phase has extended company SCP policies and strategies to downstream actors and consumption processes. Through a desk study and interviews, we examine how appliance and dairy companies in Thailand have been involved in the shift from sustainable production to (also) sustainable consumption, from upstream to (also) downstream orientations, and from green supply to (also) green demand. Our analysis shows that carefully framing the role of citizen-consumers as change agents is required for the successful enrollment of Thai consumers in emerging markets for sustainable products and services. In making the shift towards consumers, companies can be assisted by so-called intermediary organizations that claim to hold specific knowledge on and access to Thai consumers.

When social practices meet smart grids : Flexibility, grid management, and domestic consumption in The Netherlands
Smale, Robin ; Vliet, Bas van; Spaargaren, Gert - \ 2017
Energy Research & Social Science 34 (2017). - ISSN 2214-6296 - p. 132 - 140.
Demand-side management - Smart grids - Social practices - Sustainable energy consumption

This article seeks to analyse recent shifts in goals concerning domestic energy uses. Drawing on two Dutch smart grid projects, we observe that in the smart grid transition the balancing of (renewable) supply and demand in energy grids becomes the key priority of grid managers. This shift becomes translated at the household level through so called ‘teleoaffective structures’ of energy practices which motivate and direct the behaviour of householders towards flexible timing-of-demand. New grid objectives are codified in the rules of social practice concerning the use of flexibility instruments (notably time-of-day pricing) and are materialized in monitoring devices, smart appliances, and energy storage. We investigated which domestic practices are most open for flexible timing-of-use. Cleaning practices were found to be most suitable for demand-side response, whereas practices implied in ambiance regulation, leisure, cooking and eating, align only with some flexibility instruments. Next, an analytical focus on linkages between social practices was used to specify opportunities and barriers to sustainable domestic energy consumption. In the concluding section, we argue that householder engagement with sustainability goals should be safeguarded from the flexibility instruments, goals and strategies that seem to turn this engagement into grid management performed for financial benefits only.

China's policies on greening financial institutions: assessment and outlook
Mol, A.P.J. - \ 2017
In: Routledge Handbook of China's Environmental Policy / Sternfeld, E., Routledge - ISBN 9781138831117 - p. 208 - 222.
Environmental protection and sustainability have a complex relationship with finances and financial institutions. Financial institutions such as banks, pension funds and insurance companies, are increasingly seen as of vital importance for reaching environmental and sustainability goals. Initially, and at least till the early 1990s, the availability of finances and the functioning of financial institutions were considered to contribute significantly to unsustainable practices. Through their investment and loan practices, banks and other financial institutions were seen as major drivers behind economic growth and as such major contributors to natural resource depletion and environmental pollution. From the 1990s onwards, the sustainability perspective of financial institutions and the availability of finance has diversified. On the waves of ecological modernization (Spaargaren and Mol 1992) financial institutions were also considered as potentially major institutions, actors and instruments in greening investments, industrial development, and infrastructures. And lifting restrictions on finance was no longer one-to-one related to increasing pollution and resource extraction, but also to greening technological development and capitalization of green transitions (e.g. Scholtens 2006; Perez 2008; Yuxiang and Chen 2011, 95-97; UNEP 2014). Also, there was more and more recognition that public finance alone would never be able to free the finances needed to turn economies and societies green, as major investments will be needed in industrial transformations, new infrastructure, retro-fitting existing buildings, zero-carbon development and the like (Shen et al. 2013). This more positive role of financial institutions for the sustainability agenda started to gain prominence in the scholarly literature in the early 1990s, first especially with respect to international institutions such as the World Bank and its International Financial Corporation, other regional development banks, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (Perez 2008). These financial institutions decided - under considerable pressure from NGOs and some states - to integrate ecological considerations and later even conditionality into mainstream lending policies and practices. Following these development banks and international financial institutions, private banks also, starting with the larger ones from OECD countries with international operations, began to subject lending to some form of voluntary environmental regulation. The UNEP Finance Initiative, established in the 1990s, was the first to try to provide a global normative framework for the incorporation of environmental considerations into the business practices of public and private financial institutions. During all these initiatives and related debates it became clear that there were still many teething troubles and conflicting goals, which come along with sustainability roles for finance. The ambivalences of finance, financial instruments and financial institutions for the sustainability agenda made the design and implementation of the former three of key importance, and thus subject of research and politics.
Structural conditions for and against sustainable ways of consuming
Vliet, B.J.M. van; Spaargaren, G. - \ 2017
In: Routledge Handbook on Consumption / Keller, Margit, Halkier, Bente, Wilska, Terhi-Anna, Truninger, Monica, London / New York : Routledge Taylor & Francis Group - ISBN 9781138939387 - p. 353 - 362.
The relevance of practice theories for tourism research
Lamers, Machiel ; Duim, V.R. van der; Spaargaren, G. - \ 2017
Annals of Tourism Research 62 (2017). - ISSN 0160-7383 - p. 54 - 63.
Practice theories offer a new perspective on tourism, by not focussing on individual agents or social structures, but on social practices as the starting point for theorising and conducting research. Illustrated by the practice of Arctic expedition cruising, we discuss the basic premises of practice theories and their potential applications to tourism studies, including various ways of conceptualising social practices, the principle idea of a flat ontology, the
methodological implications and the relevance for tourism policies. Practice theories could contribute to the agenda of tourism studies in three ways, i.e. by enabling in-depth analysis of performed tourism consumption or production practices, by facilitating analysis of change in tourism over time and by unravelling the embeddedness of tourism practice.
Forest Governance : Connecting global to local practives
Arts, B.J.M. ; Kleinschmit, D. ; Pülzl, H. - \ 2016
In: Practice Theory and Research / Spaargaren, Gert, Weenink, Don, Lamers, Machiel, Abingdon : Routledge - ISBN 9781138101517 - p. 203 - 228.
Introduction : Using practice theory to research social life
Spaargaren, G. ; Lamers, M.A.J. ; Weenink, D. - \ 2016
In: Practice Theory and Research / Spaargaren, Gert, Weenink, Don, Lamers, Machiel, Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge Taylor & Francis Group - ISBN 9781138101517 - p. 3 - 27.
Emotional agency navigates a world of practices
Weenink, D. ; Spaargaren, G. - \ 2016
In: Practice Theory and Research / Spaargaren, Gert, Weenink, Don, Lamers, Machiel, Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge Taylor & Francis Group - ISBN 9781138101517 - p. 60 - 84.
Growing urban food as an emerging social practice
Dobernig, Karin ; Veen, E.J. ; Oosterveer, P.J.M. - \ 2016
In: Practice Theory and Research / Spaargaren, Gert, Weenink, Don, Lamers, Machiel, Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge Taylor & Francis Group - ISBN 9781138101517 - p. 153 - 178.
Connecting practices : Conservation tourism partnerships in Kenya
Lamers, M.A.J. ; Duim, V.R. van der - \ 2016
In: Practice Theory and Research / Spaargaren, Gert, Weenink, Don, Lamers, Machiel, Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge Taylor & Francis Group - ISBN 9781138101517 - p. 179 - 201.
Conclusion : The relevance of practice theory for researching social change
Lamers, M.A.J. ; Spaargaren, G. ; Weenink, D. - \ 2016
In: Practice Theory and Research / Spaargaren, Gert, Weenink, Don, Lamers, Machiel, Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge Taylor & Francis Group - ISBN 9781138101517 - p. 229 - 242.
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