No through road: a critical examination of researcher assumptions and approaches to researching sustainability.
Oates, Caroline J.
Alevizou, Panayiota J.
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MCDONALD, S., OATES, C.J. and ALEVIZOU, P.J. 2016. No through road: a critical examination of researcher assumptions and approaches to researching sustainability. Review of marketing research [online], 13: Malhotra, N.K. (ed.) Marketing in and for a sustainable society, pages 139-168. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/S1548-643520160000013014
Purpose: The purpose of this chapter is to examine the ways in which academic researchers frame and conduct sustainability research, and to ask to what extent we are limited by these frames. Design/methodology/approach: Our approach is based on an epistemological critique. We begin with a discussion of the ways in which sustainable consumption has been conceptualised within marketing; we question the influence of positivist social science research traditions: and examine how research on sustainability is impacted by the structure of academia. Findings: Our critical reflection leads us to suggest three ways in which sustainability research might be re-framed: a reconsideration of language, a shift in the locus of responsibility, and the adoption of a holistic approach. Research and practical implications: We propose that in order to make progress in sustainability research, alternative frames, terms, units of analysis, method(ologie)s and research ambitions are needed. Originality/value: By making visible our collective, unexamined assumptions, we can now move forward with new questions and agendas for sustainability research.