“Sustainability”- Genuine or a Fad?

When deciding what topic for my case study analysis, I originally was fascinated with the blog (turned into book) Stuff White People Like. This blog was started as a satire against the middle to upper white class culture. It highlights things like coffee, film festivals, organic food, non-profit organizations, diversity, etc. The list is relatively comprehensive and varied; hence, I decided to take a theme that I found recurrent throughout the list. Farmer’s markets, organic food, yoga, vegan/vegetarianism, whole foods and grocery co-ops, Toyota Prius, recycling, etc. were all considered “stuff white people like.” This pattern mentions that the idea of “sustainability” is becoming more and more a part of our society.

Hence, for my case study analysis, I plan to explore this “going green” and “sustainability” fad/movement that is occurring throughout society. My questions arise out of whether this movement is coming from genuine concern and care for the environment or if it is more of a cool trend/good label to have as a business, organization, or person. Furthermore, I think there is heavy socio-economics to be explored in the “going green” movement. Organic foods, hybrid cars, shopping at wholesale grocers are not necessarily the most inexpensive practices; hence, is this movement of “sustainability” excluding those of lower class in society?

I think the most applicable theorist, at this early stage in my analysis, would be Gramsci. Taking a more understanding/blended approach to society, Gramsci argues that the hegemonic bloc treats the aspirations of its subaltern people as its own active element. In using Gramsci with sustainability in our society, I think this approach of taking interests (not necessarily genuine interests) to make a “better face” in society is applicable. Many people in this “green movement” may act this way to seem environmentally conscious and a good member of society, yet Gramsci may argue otherwise. My aim is to include a few other theorists to judge what they would argue about this sustainability movement; however, Gramsci is the frontrunner with his blended hegemonic culture argument.


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