Harvesting Culture On The Curb: The influence of consumer culture on the growing interest in urban agriculture in Copenhagen

Judith Naomi Neijzen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Various types of urban food cultivation, commonly referred to as urban agriculture (UA), are on the rise in the Global North, developing as a growing market. Existing literature on UA consump-tion has argued that in this geographical context the practice is driven bysecondary needs, partly explaining the paradox in which urban consumers desire to consume a practice that is inherently rural and does not match their chosen urban lifestyle.The consumer motivations and behaviors that hitherto have been investigated mainly focus on rational motivations, unable to fully explain the increase in interest in UA. This thesis suggests that by investigating the consumer culture of UA, one can uncover ulterior socio-cultural reasons to consume UA, answering the research question: “How does consumer culture incite the increas-ing consumption of urban agriculture in Copenhagen?”With point of departure in a constructivist philosophy of science, UA is studied through the lens of Consumer Culture Theory (CCT)—a framework able to illuminate the symbolic, contextual and experimental aspects of consumption. Within two central domains of CCT, the thesis’ theo-retical framework focusses on the person-object relations in regard to identity (consumer iden-tity projects) and the specific culture of the UA marketplace in relation to consumption commu-nities (marketplace cultures). To this end, thestudy employs the concepts of Self-extension (Belk, 1988) and neo-tribalism (Maffesoli, 1996).Based onin-debt interviews, this study presents insights from representatives of UA entrepre-neurs, experts and farmers. The interview data are employed in an inductive content analysis, utilizing triangulation to extract conclusive findings.From a consumer culture perspective, the present study discovers that consumers use UA as:•a source of identity-consuming to construct their identity and establish a sense of self.•a body of knowledge-using UA as a source of knowledge and a tool to pass on knowledge.•a context of communion-consumption as a catalyst for sociality with likeminded people.•an embodiment of values-using UA to physically embody values and feel empowered.Inlight of the employed theory, it is thus concluded that the increasing interest in UA in Copen-hagen, among other things, is incited as it provides a means through which consumers can ex-press and build theiridentities and presents amarketplace as a context for desired communion and sociality

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages231
SupervisorsHanne Pico Larsen