Conference PaperPDF Available

Understanding User Motivations and Drawbacks Related to Product Repair

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Abstract This paper presents the findings from an exploratory study that looks at current user behaviours and activities and scrutinises motivations and barriers related to product repair. The cultural probes method (Gaver, Dunne, & Pacenti, 1999) is used in order to broadly explore the motivations of, and drawbacks for, users and to inspire them to reflect and report their experiences and concerns about repaired and broken products. Non-professional people who have got broken products, who repaired products and/or who had products repaired are selected for this study. A range of motivation and drawback categories are developed in diverse contexts that suggest opportunities to understand and change user behaviour, through design, to reduce their environmental impact. Furthermore, this study serves as baseline research for future investigations in how to integrate repair into business models and design processes in order to extend product lifespan. Keywords: Product Repair, Circular Economy, Product Longevity, Design for Sustainable Behaviour
Content may be subject to copyright.
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Understanding!User!Motivations!and!Drawbacks!Related!to!Product!Repair!!
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2.3!Motivation!Categories!
2.3.1!Financial/Time/Labour!Gain!
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2.3.2!Emotional!Attachment!
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X6.9!&((!;6.!2;6.0!M&0;C!X.0.! X20,19>! X.((Rc! d.!6&:!;6.!M02:4K;! 0.M&10.:!&9:!.OM(&19.:! ;6.!
0.&C29!2?!C4K6!&!:.K1C129!&C!;6.!:.C10.!;2!0.(1.Q.!;6.!9.>&;1Q.!?..(19>!2?!;602X19>!1;!&X&=R!
5&0;1K1M&9;!Ua!X&;K6.:!&!Q1:.2!;2!K6&9>.!;6.!P&;;.0=!2?!61C!(&M;2M!P.K&4C.!6.!;624>6;!1;!X&C!
92;!;6.!01>6;!;619>!;2!;602X!&!(&M;2M!&X&=!29(=!:4.!;2!1;C!P&;;.0=!S[1>40.!U"WR!
2.3.6!Personal!Pleasure/Satisfaction!
E2N.!M&0;1K1M&9;C!&0.! 19CM10.:!;2!0.M&10!M02:4K;C!&C!;6.=!&0.! &P(.!;2!:1CM(&=!;6.10!C,1((C!&9:!
.Q.9;4&((=!;61C!M02K.CC!>1Q.C!;6.N!M.0C29&(!M(.&C40.!&9:!C&;1C?&K;129R!
5&0;1K1M&9;! V! C&1:h! bk! ;624>6;! &! :0=19>! 0&K,! X&C! 92;! &! ;619>! ;6&;! =24! C62X! .Q.0=29.! C2! k!
0.M&10.:!;6.!P02,.9!M(&C;1K!K299.K;129!M&0;C!P.K&4C.!;0=19>!;2!>.;!&9!2(:!2Pe.K;!X20,!1C!N20.!
C&;1C?=19>!;6&9! P4=19>!&!9.X!29.Rc!!E6.! &::.:! 6.0!;624>6;C!&P24;!6.0!P02,.9! 6&10!:0=.0h!bk!
0.&((=!X&9;!;2!,92X!62X!;2!?1O!;619>C!&9:! X6&;! K&4C.C!;6.N!;2!?&1(R!/6.!(.&0919>!M02K.CC! 1C!
&X.C2N.A!&9:!&?;.0!C2N.;619>!1C!?1O.:!k!&N!?1((.:!X1;6!M01:.!&9:!6&MM19.CCRc!S[1>40.!U#WR!
5&0;1K1M&9;! UG! 6.(M.:! 61C! N2;6.0! P=! ?1O19>! ;6.! K&P(.! K299.K;129! 2?! ;6.! (&NMC6&:.R! d.!
.OM0.CC.:!61C!?..(19>C!2?!M(.&C40.!&C!6.!6&:!C4K6!&!C,1((!2?!?1O19>A!&KK2NM(1C6.:!;6.!;&C,!&9:!
6.(M.:!61C!N2;6.0!S[1>40.!UjWR!
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2.3.7!Environmental!Concerns!
H9Q1029N.9;&(! K29K.09C!&0.! &N29>C;!;6.! N2;1Q&;129C! ;6&;! .9K240&>. ! M&0;1K1M&9;C! ;2! 0.M&10!
M02:4K;CR! ^2C;! 2?! ;6.! M&0;1K1M&9;C! &0.! &X&0.! 2?! ;6.! :&N&>.! ;6.! K400.9;! .K292N1K! C=C;.N!
K&4C.C!;2!;6.!.9Q1029N.9;A!;64C!;6.=!X&9;!;2!0.:4K.!1;R!
5&0;1K1M&9;!U$! C&1:! ;6&;!6.!X&C!19;.0.C;.:!19!0.M&1019>!CN&((!&MM(1&9K.C!S[1>40.! UaW!&9:! 6.!
X&9;.:!;2!(.&09!N20.!&P24;!?1O19>!2Pe.K;C!19!20:.0!;2!:.K0.&C.!.9Q1029N.9;&(!M02P(.NCA!&9:!
&::.:h!bk!K&N.!?02N!&!P&K,>0249:!X6.0.!=24A!?10C;!2?!&((A!&;;.NM;!;2!0.M&10!P02,.9!C;4??!P.?20.!
0.M(&K19>!;6.NRc!
5&0;1K1M&9;! UG! 6&:!61C! (4>>&>.! 0.M&10.:! &?;.0! 1;C! X6..(C! P02,.!S[1>40.! UgWR! @(;624>6! 6.!
K2NM(&19.:! ;6&;! 1;! ;22,! ;22!N4K6! ;1N.! ;2!?19:! ?20! &! 0.M&10N&9!;2! ?1O! 1;A! 6.! C&1:!;6&;!6.! X&C!
6&MM=!&P24;!:219>!;6.!01>6;!;619>!?20!;6.!.9Q1029N.9;R!
2.4!Product!Repair!Barriers!!
2.4.1!Financial/Time/Labour!Loss!
IC.0C!:.K1:.!X6.;6.0! ;2! >.;! ;6.!M02:4K;!0.M&10.:!20! 92;! P=! K&(K4(&;19>!;6.10!(2CC! 20! >&19! 19!
;.0NC!2?!;1N.A!N29.=!&9:!(&P240R!
5&0;1K1M&9;!g!0.M20;.:!;6&;!6.!:1:!92;!M0.?.0!;2!6&Q.!61C!,.;;(.!0.M&10.:!P.K&4C.!6.!;624>6;!1;!
X24(:!K2C;!N20.!;6&9!P4=19>!&!9.X!29.!S[1>40.!UGWR!
5&0;1K1M&9;!U#!C&1:!C6.!:1:!92;!6&Q.!6.0!K&N.0&!0.M&10.:!P.K&4C.!2?!?19&9K1&(!0.&C29CR!E6.!
C;&;.:!;6&;!;6.!?(&C6!2?!6.0!K&N.0&!6&:!M02P(.NCA!X61K6!:1:!92;!C;.&:1(=!&MM.&0!S[1>40.!U`WR!
2.4.2!Condition!of!the!Product!(Old/Low!Quality/Technologically!OutXdated)!!
829:1;129! 2?! ;6.! M02:4K;! K&;.>20=! S2(:Z(2X! \4&(1;=Z;.K692(2>1K&((=! 24;Y:&;.:W! 0.?.0C! ;2! ;6.!
C;&;.!X6.9!&!M02:4K;!P.K2N.C!2(:A!49?&C6129&P(.!&9:!1C!P.619:!;.K692(2>1K&(!;0.9:CA! (2C19>!
;6.! 1:.9;1;=! &9:! C;&;4C! 1;! 29K.! 6&:R! k?! M02:4K;C! ?&1(! ;2! C&;1C?=! ;6.! 64N&9! C.&0K6! ?20! 9.X!
.OM.01.9K.CA!;6.=!P.K2N.!:.CM1C.:!S86&MN&9A!"$$VWR![19&((=A!;6.!0.(&;129C61M!P.;X..9!;6.!
4C.0!&9:!;6.!2Pe.K;!?&1(C!&9:!(.&:C!;2!:1CM2C&(R!!
5&0;1K1M&9;! U`! C;&;.:! ;6&;! 6.! :1:! 92;! X&9;! ;2!6&Q.! 61C! N2P1(.! M629.! 0.M&10.:! &C! 6.! 6&:! &!
N20.!;.K692(2>1K&((=!&:Q&9K.:!29.!S[1>40.!UVWR!
5&0;1K1M&9;!UU! C;&;.:! ;6&;!C6.!X24(:!92;!6&Q.!6.0!C62.!0.M&10.:!C19K.! C6.! ;624>6;!1;!1C!2(:!
&9:!0.&K6.:!;6.!.9:!2?!1;C!(1?.!S[1>40.!"$WR!
2.4.3!Unavailability!of!Spare!Parts!
8400.9;(=!N2C;!0.M&10!M02K.CC.C! &0.! &K;4&((=! ;&,19>!M(&K.! &C! 0.M(&K.N.9;! 2?! M02:4K;!M&0;CR!
/61C!?&K;!N&,.C!;6.!49&Q&1(&P1(1;=!2?!CM&0.!M&0;C!&N29>!;6.!N&19!:0&XP&K,C!;6&;!M&0;1K1M&9;C!
.9K249;.0R!
5&0;1K1M&9;!UG!C;&;.:!;6&;!6.!K24(:!92;!?19:!;6.!CM&0.!M&0;!P.K&4C.!1;!X&C!92;!M02Q1:.:!P=!;6.!
M02:4K.0!K2NM&9=A!&C!;6.!N2P1(.!M629.!X&C!;.K692(2>1K&((=!24;Y:&;.:!S[1>40.!"UWR!
2.4.4!Do!not!Know!How!to!!
5&0;1K1M&9;C! &0.! :0&X9! &X&=! ?02N! 0.M&1019>! M02K.CC! X6.9! ;6.=! :2! 92;! 6&Q.! ;6.! 0.\410.:!
,92X(.:>.!&P24;!0.M&1019>!;6.!M02:4K;!20!K&992;!?19:!C2N.29.!;2!0.M&10!1;R!
5&0;1K1M&9;!g!C;&;.:!;6&;!6.!;01.:!;2!0.M&10!61C!N2P1(.!M629.!P4;!6.!K24(:!92;!:4.!;2!;6.!(&K,!2?!
K200.K;!19?20N&;129!S[1>40.!""WR!d.!.OM(&19.:h!bk!20:.0.:!&!9.X!CK0..9!?02N!8619&R!k!;624>6;!
;6&;! 1;! X&C!92;! C2! 1NM20;&9;! ;2! X.&0! 19C4(&;19>! >(2Q.C! X61(.! ?1O19>A! P4;! ;6.! M629.! 1C!92X!
K2NM(.;.(=!:.&:!:4.!;2!N=!P2:=!.(.K;01K1;=Rc!
5&0;1K1M&9;!U!M0.:1K;.:!;6&;!;6.!M02P(.N!2?!61C!,.;;(.!X&C!(22C.!K299.K;129!2?!K&P(.C!S[1>40.!
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2.4.5!Design!Related!Problems!
@;;&K619>! M02:4K;! M&0;C! M.0N&9.9;(=! :4019>! N&94?&K;4019>! M02K.CC! X1;6! N.;62:C! C4K6! &C!
>(419>!&9:!X.(:19>!1C!29.!2?!;6.!N2C;!M02N19.9;!:.C1>9!0.(&;.:!M02P(.NCR!/61C!19K0.&C.C!;6.!
K2C;!2?!0.M&10!&9:!&N249;!2?!X&C;.!&C!?49K;12919>!M&0;C!6&Q.!;2!P.!0.N2Q.:!X1;6!;6.!P02,.9!
29.CR!
5&0;1K1M&9;!V!K2NM(&19.:!&P24;!;6.!2(:!&9:!X209Y24;!&MM.&0&9K.!2?!;6.!M02:4K;!S[1>40.!"jWR!
E6.! X&9;.:! ;2! K6&9>.! ;6.! 24;.0! M&0;! P4;! ;61C! X&C! 92;! M2CC1P(.! P.K&4C.! 2?! ;6.! X&=! ;6.!
M02:4K;!X&C!:.C1>9.:R!
5&0;1K1M&9;!U!X&9;.:!;2!6&Q.!;6.!P02,.9!X&;.0!;&9,!K6&9>.:!P4;!;61C!X&C!92;!M2CC1P(.!&C! 1;!
X&C!M.0N&9.9;(=!&;;&K6.:!;2!;6.!M02:4K;!S[1>40.!"aWR!
2.4.6!Planned!Obsolescence!
5&0;1K1M&9;C!&0.!:1CK240&>.:!?02N!0.M&1019>!M02:4K;C!1?!;6.!M02:4K;!1C!P02,.9!N20.!;6&9!29K.R!
/6.=! ;619,! ;6.! M02:4K;! 1C! M02:4K.:! ;2! (&C;! 19! &! M0.Y:.;.0N19.:! ;1N.! &9:! 2;6.0! M&0;C! X1((!
K29;194.!P0.&,19>!:2X9R!!
5&0;1K1M&9;!"!C;&;.:!;6&;!C6.!6&:!;6.!C&N.!M02P(.N!X1;6!6.0!(&C;!;X2!P22;C!S[1>40.!"gWR!E6.!
6&:!;6.!?10C;!29.!0.M&10.:R!d2X.Q.0A!&?;.0!29.!X..,!;6.=!X.0.!;209!&>&19R!E6.!:1:!92;!X&9;!;2!
0.M&10!6.0!9.X.0!P22;C!P.K&4C.!C6.!;624>6;!;6&;!;6.=!X24(:!92;!(&C;!(29>!&?;.0!0.M&10A!(1,.!;6.!
M0.Q124C!29.CR!
5&0;1K1M&9;!U$! 19:1K&;.:! ;6&;!6.!6&:!61C!(24:CM.&,.0!0.M&10.:!;X1K.!S[1>40.! "GWR!d.!:1:! 92;!
X&9;!;2!CM.9:!;1N.!29!;&,19>!1;!;2!&!;.K691K&(!C.0Q1K.!?20!;6.!;610:!;1N.!P.K&4C.!6.!;624>6;!1;!
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N&94?&K;40.0C! &9:! 19:1K&;.:! 61C! :.C10.C! ;2! P.! C.(?YC4??1K1.9;A! 6&Q.! ;6.! &P1(1;=! &9:! ;6.!
,92X(.:>.!&P24;!0.M&10R!!
2.2.2!Types!of!Repair!!
7.M.9:19>!29! ;6.! (.Q.(! 2?!;6.!C,1((!2?! ;6.! M.0C29! K&00=19>!24;!&9=!2?! ;6.! &K;1Q1;1.CA!0.M&10! 1C!
K&;.>201'.:!19;2!;60..!:1??.0.9;!;=M.CR!!
Assembly!repair:!/61C!0.M&10!;=M.!:2.C!92;!0.\410.!&9=!C,1((!20!,92X(.:>.R!@!>22:!.O&NM(.!
6.0.!X24(:!P.!M4;;19>!M02:4K;!M&0;C!;2>.;6.0A!>(419>!20!P19:19>!;6.NR!!
Medium!level!repair:!/61C!0.M&10!;=M.!K29C1C;C!2?!&K;1Q1;1.C!X61K6!0.\410.!C2N.!(.Q.(!2?!C,1((!
&9:!,92X(.:>.!(1,.!>(4.!,92X(.:>.A!N&;.01&(!,92X(.:>.R!
Advanced! level! repair:! /61C! 0.M&10! ;=M.!19K(4:.C! &K;1Q1;1.C! ;6&;! 0.\410.! &:Q &9K.:! C,1((! &9:!
,92X(.:>.A!C4K6!&C!K6&9>19>!;6.!CK0..9!2?!;6.!(&M;2MR!
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Conclusion!
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Assembly.repaır Medium.level.
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Advanced.level.
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Repaırman
Repair.Types
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... Because of this, maintenance is anticipatory in nature, while repair is reactive. Terzioglu et al. [15] propose the following types of repair (p. 235). ...
... Despite the importance of the concept of repairability to achieve closed cycles and circular production and consumption systems [1,4], there are factors that have inhibited the capacity to repair products in the last decades [15,24]. These factors have prevented users from engaging in habits of repairing. ...
... Other authors have explored the barriers and motivation to repair from a consumer point of view related to different types of products [15,16,[24][25][26]. From a methodological point of view, for this article, we categorized the barriers that discourage consumers from product repair by reviewing academic articles from different fields of study. ...
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Industry has been considered a major actor regarding the actions and changes needed to achieve sustainable development. Different approximations to the topic have been developed to face the challenges of having a more responsible production of goods and services. These approximations include cleaner production, green design, ecodesign, eco efficiency, design for sustainable behavior, sustainable design, and more recently concepts like circular economies among many more. In all these approaches, the attention has been mainly on the production side while consumption has been tackled indirectly. The majority of laws and ordinances that have motivated the emergence of these approaches have traditionally been oriented to producers. However, an European Union (EU) directive launched in October 2019, called “right to repair”, could change this paradigm, empowering consumers by giving them more possibilities of repairing their products instead of discarding them. This paper presents a preliminary discussion about the effects this directive might have on how we consume products now and how we will consume them in the future.
... Pro-environmental users are recognised to display stronger product retention tendency, including greater attempts to repair items to meet their values and fulfil their lifestyles choices (Haws, Naylor, Coulter & Bearden, 2011;Haws, Winterich & Naylor, 2013). Yet, research on the factors influencing repair propensity put forward conflicting outcomes as to the extent to which environmental concerns influence repair behaviour (Lilley, Bailey, & Charnley, 2013;Scott & Weaver, 2014;Terzioglu, Brass & Lockton, 2015). ...
... The following section presents the factors influencing repair propensity. The review draws from existing literature on the topic (Lilley et al., 2013;Scott & Weaver, 2014;Terzioglu et al., 2015) and the lessons from data mining on repair experiences (Mashhadi et al., 2016). ...
... Repair companies, manufacturers and retailers can mismanage users' expectation by delaying the repair, having inconsistent access to spare parts and delivering poor customer service (Consumer Reports, 2001;Scelfo, 2009). The creation of a network providing spare parts can alleviate the shortage of spare parts (Lilley et al., 2013;Mashhadi et al., 2016;Terzioglu et al., 2015). Manufacturers and retailers also pass higher costs onto the user (caused by the high cost of infrastructure to process repair and decreasing skilled workforce). ...
... It can be seen from online user platforms that there are people who want to fi x their broken stu . However, factors such as the design of products, unavailable spare parts and the high cost of repair prevent some of them from doing so (Terzioğlu et al., 2015). ...
Chapter
Technological developments including 3D printing, computer technologies and online platforms will continue to transform the production and consumption system. Business leaders, designers and researchers should identify how these technological developments could affect them if they want to be a part of the circular system. This paper explores the opportunities for, and barriers to 3D printing for extending the lifespan of products through repair. The author repaired twenty products to explore the potential of the 3D printing for each unique repair activity. The article further discusses the implications of findings for business, product design and users considering the transition towards a circular economy.
... Payne, 1991), eye-tracking, cultural probes (Gaver et al, 1999), ethnography and shadowing can all help reveal aspects of people's understandings and internal representations of situations, via examining and mapping interaction behaviour, routines, shifts in focus or even the errors people make. For example, in a design for behaviour change context, Terzioğlu et al (2015) used cultural probes to explore and understand factors involved in consumers' actions around repairing broken household objects, as a precursor to designing interventions. However, even with an extensive palette of methods, the fundamental difficulty that mental models (and aspects of understanding more generally) are "not available for direct inspection or measurement" (Jones et al, 2011) remains. ...
Chapter
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How should we live in the world such that we have culturally enriching and worthwhile lives when the material and social fabric of our situation does nothing to nurture or sustain the kinds of relationships with each other and with nature that would seem to be a prerequisite for a healthy life? This chapter examines the claim that there are compensatory benefits – such as cosmopolitanism and increasing self reflection – that mitigate the psychological and social problems of living un-embedded lives in placeless environments. It then proposes the solution that simply by making things, actively engaging in things and, particularly, by mending things, we can rediscover the necessary environmental virtues to reintegrate ourselves into the material fabric of the world. Why this should work has to do with the transformatory power of active, purposive engagement with the material realm. Moreover, we can do this even in the midst of contemporary ‘thinned out’ spaces to make them into enriching places.
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Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys brings together for the first time information about lifecycle sustainability impacts of fashion and textiles, practical alternatives, design concepts and social innovation. It challenges existing ideas about the scope and potential of sustainability issues in fashion and textiles, and sets out a more pluralistic, engaging and forward-looking picture, drawing on ideas of systems thinking, human needs, local products, slow fashion and participatory design, as well as knowledge of materials. The book not only defines the field, it also challenges it, and uses design ideas to help shape more sustainable products and promote social change. Arranged in two sections, the first four chapters represent key stages of the lifecycle: material cultivation/extraction, production, use and disposal. The remaining four chapters explore design approaches for altering the scale and nature of consumption, including service design, localism, speed and user involvement. While each of these chapters is complete in and of itself, their real value comes from what they represent together: innovative ways of thinking about textiles and garments based on sustainability values and an interconnected approach to design.
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Over the course of the twentieth century, the availability of cheap, mass-produced fashion has contributed to a decline in everyday domestic mending skills. Indeed, as mass-manufactured goods have become cheaper for the global population it has become normative consumer behaviour to dispose of any item that is less than per-fect, even when the damage is entirely superficial, leading Clark to claim that: ‘mending has died out’ (2008: 435). However, in recent years there has been an apparent revival in domestic mending, aided and evidenced by the emergence of sewing and mending groups in the UK, mainland Europe and North America. This has coincided with a growing interest in more sustainable material goods (McDonough & Braungart 2002; Fletcher 2008), and a small body of academic work around the notion of craftsmanship (e.g. Sennett 2008; Crawford 2009). Of particular interest here is the history of mending of clothing and household goods, as well as recent incarnations of mending as both an individual and group activity. In the past year, researchers from diverse theoretical backgrounds have also highlighted the role of mending in everyday material goods providing further insights into the subject (Laitala & Boks 2012; Middleton 2012; Portwood-Stacer 2012). An examination of mending reveals a complex picture in which gender, class, aesthetics and social motivations interweave with the imperatives of consumer culture. Whilst historically it is generally constructed as a feminine activity, and carried connotations of material deprivation, contemporary mending is often motivated by environmental concerns and a desire to reduce consumption. Ultimately, mending is demonstrated to be an under-researched subject loaded with cultural meaning, and ultimately, is shown to be anything but a trivial activity.
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It is not the aim of this Introduction, or even of this special issue, to give a comprehensive account of the history and development of Do It Yourself activity per se. To achieve such an aim would take far more space than is available here. There remains, however, a need to expand the existing canon of works, as relatively little has been written on the subject of DIY from a design historical perspective.
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Sustainable consumption is unlikely to be achieved as long as the quantity of household waste generated in industrial nations continues to rise. One factor underlying this trend is the life span of household goods. This article contributes to recent advances in life-cycle thinking by highlighting the significance of product life spans for sustainable consumption and exploring the current state of research. A theoretical model is developed to demonstrate how, by contributing to efficiency and sufficiency, longer product life spans may secure progress toward sustainable consumption. Empirical research undertaken in the United Kingdom on consumer attitudes and behavior relating to the life spans of household products is reviewed and factors that influence the market for longer-lasting products are discussed. A need is identified for further research on product life spans and some themes are proposed.
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A sustainable material culture is perhaps more about making new relationships than making new things. This paper explores the topography of what we are calling "Design's already made," including its artifacts, practices, and perceptions, via the lens of practice theory and in response to the problem of the largely unsustainable material cultures of design. Our investigation is framed by the term "wearing." Wearing – as a recurrent form of engagement between bodies and designed artifacts or as an index of use and duration – is a multi-modal concept that brings abstract time into specific, situated material and aesthetic relations. We contrast "wearing" to the "object time" (Baudrillard 1998) of material and symbolic systems that make new, purportedly improved, but "inexperienced" things available to us in consumer culture. Wearing induces a critical practice of attending to those things that are declining from object time, which in this era of destructive wasting, need to be recalled, repaired, and repurposed. Wearing reveals that design, in spite of the widespread practice of trading completed designs, is better characterized as unfinished, potentially open to the value-creating processes of its users. We elaborate on this idea by drawing on a range of examples across the design disciplines.
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This visual essay presents ‘Wearlog’, a disruptive innovation in smart wardrobes which logs wearing, washing and mending to promote longer lasting clothes. Wearlog doubles as a critical research tool to investigate the agency of things and to ask how human and nonhuman can conspire together to prolong nonhuman life. Spanning worlds of different durations, Wearlog exposes the tensions between finite matter, infinite data, human lifespans and planned technological obsolescence. The paper asks how ubiquitous systems could flow through time given the entropy endemic within the network and speculates on the long term prospects for things.
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The application of self-determination theory (SDT) to psychotherapy is particularly relevant because a central task of therapy is to support the client to autonomously explore, identify, initiate, and sustain a process of change. In this article, the authors discuss the experimental work, field studies, and clinical trials representing the application of SDT to the domain of psychotherapy. Evidence supports the importance of client autonomy for the attainment and maintenance of treatment outcomes. In addition, intervention studies suggest that therapist autonomy support enhances the likelihood that treatment gains will be achieved and maintained. The authors discuss some of the processes involved in enhancing autonomy, including the role of awareness, the importance of exploring and challenging introjects and external regulations, attention to need-related goal contents, and therapist attitudes required for a therapy approach that is process- rather than outcome-focused. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)