#Sustainability, #Consumerism, Socio-demographic Differences and #Purchase #Behaviour

A Call for Papers for a  Special Issue of American Behavioral Scientist

Guest Editors:

Dr Martina Topić, Reader, Leeds Business School, Leeds Beckett University, UK

Dr Ioannis Kostopoulos, Reader, Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moore University, UK

Dr Miloš Krstić, Associate Professor, Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics, University of Niš, Serbia


Environmental affairs are a hot topic on the news and public agenda, with an increased public and media debate on sustainable behaviour. In addition to that, a plethora of research on purchase behaviour indicates that people nominally support environmental concerns but do not always follow this up by buying from companies claiming to have green policies (Kanchanapibul, 2014). The latter often comes from cynical attitudes where many people believe that all green business is, in fact, green washing, and this is connected to media coverage where studies are showing that media express hostility towards businesses but, at the same time, some authors argued that media stimulate environmental destruction by concurrently advocating for economic growth and the continuation of capitalism whilst nominally calling for action on global warming and climate change (Grayson, 2009; Topić, 2021).

Some studies on shopping behaviour have shown that, for example, consumers sometimes resent sustainable options because of the lack of power to decide what to buy. In a UK study on women’s purchasing behaviour on reduced-price shopping (the so-called yellow sticker shopping), Topić, Diers Lawson and Kelsey (2021) argued that many women resent reduced shopping because they must buy this food due to a lack of finances to buy regular products, and they, generally, do not prefer sustainable shopping because of the lack of agency (in consumption). These women mainly come from lower socio-demographics, which opens the question what is the link between socio-demographic background and sustainable purchase behaviour? Are the working class and poor less likely to support sustainability initiatives because people do not always make rational choices?

Scholars across different social sciences (behavioural economics, psychology, etc.) insist that reality abounds with examples of irrational behaviour, which is primarily related to numerous psychological limitations and anomalies. In this regard, the most mentioned are cognitive biases related to inconsistencies in terms of discounting, contextual dependence (framing effect), lack of self-control, excessive optimism and the like (Krstić & Pavlović, 2020; Chater & Oaksford, 2012; DeAngelo & McCannon, 2021).

Studies on the behaviour of organic food consumers have shown that consumers often find organic products or products with sustainable packaging too expensive, thus expressing views that they would shop sustainably if they could afford it (Mitchell & Topić, 2019), which opens a question of whether sustainability is possible within capitalism? The latter question has been a subject of the academic debate for decades with many academics, and sociologists, in particular, analysing consumerism and its impact on the environment (Calder, 1990; Coghlan, 2009; Corrigan, 1997; Ewen & Ewen, 1992; Trentmann, 2016; Wright & Nyberg, 2015). Critical scholars also argued that the anthropocentric human civilisation is based on liberal values and a thesis that humans have the right to excessively exploit the riches of nature, and to use natural ecosystems irrationally. Most human production processes are driven by matter and energy taken from nature, but the remnants of final products are not returned “properly”, but accumulate on a global scale as usable, but rarely used waste (Starc, 2003).

Therefore, a question emerged as to whether the neoliberal model of development is inherent to the destruction of the natural environment, and whether capitalism can ensure a better future for all people on the planet? (Fleming & Jones, 2013; Ireland & Pillay, 2009; Krstić, Krstić, & Ðekić, 2018; Sheehy, 2014; Wright & Nyberg, 2015). When profit motivation in the system of social values is placed above life as the supreme value, there is a risk of “excessive destruction of nature and life itself”. The ultimate consequence of such behaviour is the disappearance of both life and profit (Pellow & Brehm, 2015; Xue et al., 2018; Derdowski  et al., 2020; Ziegler, 2021).

This special issue, therefore, looks at purchase behaviour linked to people’s sociodemographic characteristics, agency and origin to explore the extent to which people’s shopping behaviour can be changed and influence the sustainability agenda without tackling inequality first. We are interested in both normative and empirical papers that follow a variety of methodological approaches and present original research studying consumer behaviour (from marketing, sociological and psychological perspectives) as well as the behaviour of publics regarding communication messages that are communicated to publics (public relations perspective). Studies on consumerism and its link to environmental degradation are also of interest, as well as studies tackling media impact on sustainability debate (Abdulrazak & Quoquab, 2018; Figueroa-García, 2018; Trudel, 2019; Kautish, & Sharma, 2020). Editors will consider all well-written and original papers. Sociological studies focusing on class and purchase behaviour and media studies focusing on how the media report on consumption and class are particularly welcome.  

Instructions for authors

Papers should be 6,500 words long (inclusive of references, tables and figures) and the deadline is 1 November 2022. The papers should be sent to all three editors

Feedback on editorial acceptance will be sent by 30 November 2022 and selected papers will be sent for a review by 1 December 2022.

American Behavioral Scientist does not have an individual system for paper submission and all reviews and uploading to the system will be handled by editors. Authors will be regularly updated on the status of the process.

Papers should use Times New Roman, 1.5 space, 12 and APA citation style:

The issue publication date will be confirmed once editors receive and select all articles for the issue. An approximate issue publication is the second half or the end of 2023.


Abdulrazak, S., & Quoquab, F. (2018). Exploring Consumers’ Motivations for Sustainable Consump­tion: A Self-Deterministic Approach. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 30(1), 14-28.

Calder, L. G. (1990). Financing the American dream: A cultural history of consumer credit. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Chater, N., & Oaksford, M. (2012). Normative systems: Logic, probability, and rational choice. In K. Holyoak & R. G. Morrison (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning (pp. 11-21). UK, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Coghlan, A. (2009). Consumerism is ’eating the future’. The New Scientist, 7 August. Retrieved from

Corrigan, P. (1997). The sociology of consumption: An introduction. London: SAGE.

DeAngelo, G., McCannon, B. C. (2021). Behavioral economics and public choice: introduction to a special issue. Public Choice.

Derdowski, L. A., Grahn, Å. H., Hansen, H., & Skeiseid, H. (2020). The New Ecological Paradigm, Pro-Environmental Behaviour, and the Moderating Effects of Locus of Control and Self-Construal. Sustainability, 12(18), 7728.

Ewen, S., & Ewen, E. (1992). Channels of desire: Mass images and the shaping of American consciousness. Minneapolis, US: University of Minnesota Press.

Gigerenzer, G. (2021). Embodied Heuristics. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 711289.

Grayson, D. (2009). Corporate responsibility and the media. Doughty Centre Corporate Responsibility. Retrieved from

Fleming, P., & Jones, M. T. (2013). The end of corporate social responsibility: Crisis and critique. UK, London: SAGE Publications.

Figueroa-García, E. C., García-Machado, J. J., & Perez-Bustamante Yabar, D. C. (2018). Modeling the social factors that determine sustainable consumption behavior in the community of Madrid. Sustainability, 10(8), 2811.

Hill, Z., Spiegel, M., Gennetian, L., Hamer, K. A., Brotman, L., & Dawson-McClure, S. (2021). Behavioral Economics and Parent Participation in an Evidence-Based Parenting Program at Scale. Prevention Science, 22(7), 891-902

Ireland, P., & Pillay, R. (2009). Corporate social responsibility in a neoliberal age. In P. Utting & J. C. Marques (Eds.), Corporate social responsibility and regulatory governance: Towards inclusive development? (pp. 77–104). New York, NY: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Kanchanapibul, M., Lacka, E., Wang, X., & Chan, H. K. (2014). An empirical investigation of green purchase behaviour among the young generation. Journal of Cleaner Production, 66, 528-536.

Kautish, P., & Sharma, R. (2020). Determinants of pro‐environmental behavior and environmentally conscious consumer behavior: An empirical investigation from emerging market. Business Strategy & Development, 3(1), 112-127.

Krstić, B., Krstić, M., & Ðekić, I. (2018). Sustainability of development and growth – crisis, distribution of income and inequality. Economics of Sustainable Development, 2(1), 1–12.

Krstić, M., & Pavlović, N. (2020). Behavioral Economics: New Dimension in Understanding the Real Economic Behavior. In Akkucuk, U (ed.) Handbook of Research on Sustainable Supply Chain Management for the Global Economy (pp. 281-298). US, Pennsylvania: IGI Global.

Mitchell, B., & Topić, M. (2019). Generation Z & Consumer Trends in Environmental Packaging. The Retail Institute, Leeds Beckett University. Retrieved from

Pellow, D. N., & Brehm, H. N. (2015). From the new ecological paradigm to total liberation: The emergence of a social movement frame. The Sociological Quarterly, 56(1), 185-212.

Rauwerda, K., & De Graaf, F. J. (2021). Heuristics in financial decision-making: the selection of SME financing by advisers in an increasingly diverse market. Management Decision, 59(7), 1728-1749.

Sheehy, B. (2014). Defining CSR: Problems and solutions. Journal of Business Ethics, 131, 625–648.

Starc, N. (2003). Priroda, čovjek i figa u džepu. Društvena istraživanja-Časopis za opća društvena pitanja, 12(65), 335-359.

Trentmann, F. (2016). Empire of things: How we became a world of consumers, from the fifteenth century to the twenty-first. London: Penguin UK.

Topić, M. (2021). Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Affairs in the British Press: An Ecofeminist Critique of Neoliberalism. London: Routledge.

Topić, M., Diers Lawson, A., & Kelsey, S. (2021). Women and the squander cycle in food waste in the United Kingdom: An Ecofeminist and Feminist Economic Analysis. Social Ecology/Socijalna Ekologija: Journal for Environmental Thought and Sociological Research, 30(2), 219-253.

Trudel, R. (2019). Sustainable consumer behavior. Consumer psychology review, 2(1), 85-96.

Wright, C., & Nyberg, D. (2015). Climate change, capitalism and corporations: Processes of creative self-destruction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Xue, W., Marks, A. D., Hine, D. W., Phillips, W. J., & Zhao, S. (2018). The new ecological paradigm and responses to climate change in China. Journal of Risk Research, 21(3), 323-339.

Ziegler, A. (2021). New Ecological Paradigm meets behavioral economics: On the relationship between environmental values and economic preferences. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 109, 102516.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *