Voluntary Simplicity: An Exploration of Market Interactions

Deirdre Shaw, Caroline Moraes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Voluntary simplicity is often considered to be a sustainable lifestyle phenomenon buttressed by environment‐friendly consumption practices. Voluntary simplicity is shaped by the individual as well as the society, and marketplace interactions often impact voluntarily simplified approaches to consumption. Pertinent, therefore, is a consideration of how voluntary simplifiers negotiate the tensions between marketplace interactions and decisions (not) to consume, as the exploration of interactions between consumption and non‐consumption choices has relevant implications for the advancement of sustainable consumption. Specifically, we seek to answer the following question: how have voluntary simplifiers in a rural context negotiated the relationship between voluntary simplicity and market‐based (non‐) consumption? This paper reports on a study of 28 rural voluntary simplifiers to explore the intersections between voluntary simplicity and rural markets. Findings highlight the convoluted nature and the multiple manifestations of voluntary simplicity, while the rural context allows an exploration of such tensions in relation to individual voluntary simplicity, local economy, supermarkets, fair trade and consumer culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009


  • anti-consumption
  • ethics
  • sustainable consumption
  • voluntary simplicity


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