Thursday, March 01, 2007

Downshifting and Voluntary Simplicity

I have been invited to contribute a chapter on voluntary simplicity in an new book on downshifting that will be published later this year, edited by Dr. Franco Gandolfi and Dr. Hélène Cherrier, published by ICFAI University Press.
In contemporary Western society, the idea of living more simply through "simplifying life", "downshifting", "lowering material possession", or "resisting consumerism" is a life choice phenomenon. Being widely used in ordinary conversation and by writers, the idea of downshifting consumption practices is not well understood by consumer researchers. Why are these lifestyles becoming popular in a consumer culture? Why are some consumers choosing to consume less? What types of discourses are used to learn about and justify this lifestyle? The goal of this book is to present theoretical aspects and real-life cases from around the globe that will help to better understand downshifting consumption.

My chapter will focus on the ancient Christian discipline of voluntary simplicity exploring the history, scope and significance of this devotional discipline.