Complicated simplicity: Moral identity formation and social movement learning in the voluntary simplicity movement

Jennifer Sandlin, Carol S. Walther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article examines the learning occurring within the voluntary simplicity social movement, focusing specifically on the learning and development of identity via "moral agency" in those individuals who embrace and practice voluntary simplicity. Four key findings are discussed. First, simplifiers craft new identities in a consumption-driven world that reject society's normative subjectivities and re-create more ethical ones. Second, simplifiers develop and reinforce their moral identities through participating in particular practices of the self and self-regulation. Third, simplifiers struggle with trying to balance an ethic of nonjudgment with the very real feelings of being morally superior. Finally, simplifiers face the difficulty of managing collective group identity because of their decentralized and stratified participant base and highly individualistic moral codes. Because collective identity is so closely linked to social movement success, it holds implications for the politics of social movements and their effectiveness in bringing about social change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-317
Number of pages20
JournalAdult Education Quarterly
Volume59
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2009

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identity formation
social movement
learning
collective identity
self-regulation
Social Movements
subjectivity
social change
moral philosophy
politics
society
Group

Keywords

  • Adult learning
  • Moral identity formation
  • Social movement learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

Complicated simplicity : Moral identity formation and social movement learning in the voluntary simplicity movement. / Sandlin, Jennifer; Walther, Carol S.

In: Adult Education Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 4, 08.2009, p. 298-317.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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