UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Seeking transformative lifestyles : a role for social media influencers in creating sustainable futures Anderson, Lea M.


Academics, NGOS, and governments alike have called upon social media influencers to support sociocultural change for sustainability by promoting and popularising more sustainable ways of living. Enabling influencers to answer this call requires a better understanding of how and why these salient members of social media communities understand and portray sustainable lifestyles. This thesis asked: what elements of sustainable lifestyles do influencers promote, and how do they portray the desirability of these lifestyles to their audiences? Through a qualitative study that draws on conceptions of transformative change for sustainability, pro-sustainability values, and subjective wellbeing, this thesis found that some influencers are already promoting private pro-sustainability actions in ways that signal both the hedonic and eudaimonic value of more sustainable ways of living. However, features of social network sites such as online hate and shadowbanning pose barriers to influencers promoting civic and political practices that are integral to sustainable lifestyles. Addressing these barriers will be key to enabling influencers’ support of the widespread action necessary to advance transformative change for sustainability.

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