European Educational Research Journal
ISSN 1474-9041

Volume 10 Number 4 2011


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Educational Organisations as 'Cultures of Consumption': cultural contexts of consumer learning in schools


High levels of consumption in the industrialised parts of the world such as Europe mark a central threat to global sustainable development. In recent years, growing attention has been paid to the contributions of education and educational organisations to the socialisation of youths and young adults into consumer culture. It is the contention of this article that educational responses to the consumption challenge both within the European Union (EU) consumer policy strategy and in current practices in consumer education in European countries build on an understanding of consumer learning in schools that is too narrowly defined and thus insufficient. The aim of this article is therefore to help overcome this shortcoming by unfolding a socio-cultural view on consumption-related formal and informal learning environments in educational organisations. It is assumed that in response to external framings such as curricula or policies and as a result of inner-organisational negotiations, schools bring about distinct ways of relating to consumption and youth consumers that have socialising effects on their students. This article presents a conceptual elaboration of these contexts and processes. It draws on research into the genesis and characteristic fields of school culture and relates this to the domain of consumption. As a result, a detailed framework of organisational 'cultures of consumption' in schools with six thematic domains is presented. The article concludes with a discussion of implications and demands for a new research, practice and policy-making agenda that is needed to advance a more holistic promotion of sustainable consumer education in schools in Europe.

To cite this article

DANIEL FISCHER (2011) Educational Organisations as 'Cultures of Consumption': cultural contexts of consumer learning in schools, European Educational Research Journal, 10(4), 595-610.


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