Everyday resource use and the performance of responsibility in contemporary childhoods

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In a world concerned with resource sustainability, household use of resources such as food, water and energy is an increasingly politicised domain. The global Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) framework has been significant in disseminating environmental messages to children, often with the expectation that children and families will adapt their use everyday resources as a result of these messages. Yet individuals' use of resources is shaped by a confluence of local-global material, socio-economic and political factors and cannot only be considered a question of moral agency. This paper explores children's everyday resource use as a potential area for developing nexus thinking by conceptualising children as embodied, social and political actors confronted with moral and material questions over how they use everyday resources. Using examples from research into environment and everyday life carried out with children and families in varying contexts in India and England, this paper will show how children narrated their use of food, water and energy and how situations of material constraint illuminated intersections in the everyday production and consumption of these components. It will present children's responses to localised experiences of and spatially and temporally-distant concerns about resource constraint. The paper will consider how, in an age of environmental concern, the use of everyday resources can become an arena for children to demonstrate responsibility and a planetary-level ethic of care, whilst highlighting the limitations of acting as generationally-positioned individuals in social and political contexts that frequently value high-consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventRoyal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference 2016 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Aug 20162 Sept 2016


ConferenceRoyal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Consumption Institute


Dive into the research topics of 'Everyday resource use and the performance of responsibility in contemporary childhoods'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this