Sustainable development and agency of the citizen-consumer: Between systemic reflexivity and common good


  • Stefano Spillare


Starting from a critical interpretation of the concepts of sustainable development and green economy, this contribution explores the theoretical and empirical requirements of the agency of the citizen-consumer, in order to highlight the useful elements to inform public and private policies relating to sustainability. In particular, attention is paid to the dialectic between systemic and relational dimensions of political consumerism, trying to show how current policies in support of sustainable consumption tend to emphasize only the individual role of the consumer (in terms of transparency and awareness). The author argues that this interpretation is too restrictive, because it proposes a sort of updated version of the dominant utilitarian paradigm, with no regard to relationship dynamics about "alternative" consumer circuits (also called "collaborative consumption"). These kinds of social experiments help to support sustainable innovation, rethinking the local development model as a way to establish the “common good”.