Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET)
CET Virtual Lunch Seminar

Pandemic disruptions and everyday life: Consumption and sustainability during (and after) Covid-19

Welcome to our virtual seminar with Arve Hansen, researcher at University of Oslo.

Woman with face mask in supermarket
Researcher Arve Hansen will talk about how our consumer habits have changed during the Covid crisis.
Viki Mohamad/Unsplash

Main content

Due to the high infection rate in Bergen, we will not gather physically.

How have our habits connected to food, travel and leisure changed during the Covid crisis, and which of these changes will remain after the pandemic? These questions were the starting point of an international project studying lockdown and everyday life in 11 different countries in 2020.

The project had an overall purpose of finding lessons for transitions towards more sustainable lifestyles. Increasingly, scholars and activists alike have turned to crises and disruptions as potential windows of opportunity for large-scale changes towards more sustainable societies. During such events, current figurations of production, provision, and consumption are destabilized. Out of the ‘ruins’, it is argued, new systems can emerge, and consumption patterns may change. Yet research during the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that while sustainability transition was a major part of public debates during the initial stages of Covid-19, both consumers and provisionary actors have adapted relatively quickly to ‘a new normal’, which to a large extent upholds unsustainable consumption patterns.

In order to better understand barriers to sustainability transitions, it is imperative to understand what windows of opportunities were missed during the pandemic. Furthermore, studying how households adapted to lockdown regimes and forced changes to everyday life, as well as how routines and habits were broken and then remade, provides a unique opportunity to explain dynamics of social change amid large-scale disruption, as well as how ‘a new normal’ is forged through the intersections of practices, provision and policies.

In this presentation, Arve Hansen, who participated in both team Norway and team Vietnam, shares insights from the project and plans for an imminent follow-up study.

About the speaker:

Arve Hansen is researcher at Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, where he leads a research group on sustainable consumption and energy equity and the Norwegian network for Asian studies. His research centers around consumption and sustainability, broadly defined, and has focused both on (South)East Asia and Norway.