Peer-Reviewed Articles

Sustainability Centres and Fit: How Centres Work to Integrate Sustainability within Business Schools

Rieneke Slager, Sareh Pouryousefi, Jeremy Moon, Ethan D. Schoolman. (2018) Journal of Business Ethics, 1-17. doi: 10.1007/s10551-018-3965-4 (print version forthcoming).


For nearly as long as the topic of sustainable business has been taught and researched in business schools, proponents have warned about barriers to genuine integration in business school practices. This article examines how academic sustainability centres try to overcome barriers to integration by achieving technical, cultural and political fit with their environment. Based on survey and interview data, we theorise that technical, cultural and political fit are intricately related, and that these interrelations involve legitimacy, resources and collaboration effects.


Do Direct Market Farms Use Fewer Agricultural Chemicals? Evidence from the U.S. Census of Agriculture

Ethan D. Schoolman. (2018) Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 1-15. doi:10.1017/S1742170517000758 (print version forthcoming).


Are strong local food systems better for the environment? Surprisingly little is known about the relationship of local food to environmental sustainability. Drawing on data from the U.S. census of agriculture, I find that an increase in the strength of local food systems has been broadly associated with a decrease in spending on agricultural chemicals in the U.S. as a whole. But the magnitude of the relationship between direct marketing to consumers and changes in agricultural chemical use has dwindled over time, to the point where it is not clear whether contemporary local food systems are still incentivizing farmers to reduce their use of pesticides.


Building Community, Benefiting Neighbors: "Buying Local" by People Who Do Not Fit the Mold for "Ethical Consumers"

Ethan D. Schoolman. (2017) Journal of Consumer Culture, 1-20. doi:10.1177/1469540517717776 (print version forthcoming).


According to nearly all studies, ethical consumption is a regular practice mainly of people who are well educated and politically active in conventional ways. In contrast, I argue that buying local by supporting businesses in general, and not just food producers, seen as rooted in regional economic and civic life, may be widespread even among people lacking economic capital and interest in conventional politics. In addition, I find that buying local among people who do not fit the mold of the ‘‘typical’’ ethical consumer is motivated not by environmental concerns, but rather by the desire to directly benefit community members and secure public goods.


Closing the Circuit: Routine, Reflection, and Ethical Consumption

Ethan D. Schoolman. (2016) Sociological Forum 31(3): 619-641.


Efforts to explain why some people incorporate ethical concerns into everyday shopping for food and household goods, while many do not, have so far left significant variation in “ethical consumption” unexplained. Seeking to move beyond explanations that rely mainly on differences in consumers’ social class, gender, and political engagement, I draw on concepts associated with “practice theory” to argue that ethical consumption is closely tied to people’s willingness and ability to spend time, while shopping, on distinct activities associated with breaking old routines and establishing new ones.


Green Cities and Ivory Towers: How Do Higher Education Sustainability Initiatives Shape Millennials' Consumption Practices?

Ethan D. Schoolman, Mike Shriberg, Sarah Schwimmer, Marie Tysman. (2016) Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 6(3): 490-502.


Drawing on survey and focus group data, we find that that student commitment to practicing sustainable consumption in their adult lives is weakest regarding how food is produced and consumed. We also find that evidence for IHE impact on student attitudes and practices related to any form of sustainable consumption is surprisingly lacking. We argue that IHEs have not realized their full potential to prepare millennials to be environmentally responsible citizens of sustainable cities, particularly where participation in food systems is concerned.

Migration, Class and Environmental Inequality: Pollution Exposure in China's Jiangsu Province

Ethan D. Schoolman, Chunbo Ma. (2012) Ecological Economics 75: 140-151.


Systematic research into social inequalities in the distribution of environmental hazards, though well-established in American sociology, has largely not been conducted for developing countries. We argue that, due in part to the China's state registry system, urban workers with an official rural residence are disproportionately exposed to environmental pollution. We also argue that environmental inequality in China is shaped by social processes analogous to those which have been held to explain racial differences in pollution exposure in the U.S.

How Interdisciplinary is Sustainability Research? Analyzing the Structure of an Emerging Scientific Field

Ethan D. Schoolman, Jeremy S. Guest, Kathleen F. Bush, Andrew R. Bell. (2012) Sustainability Science 7: 67-80.


We investigate the extent to which sustainability research lives up to the ideal of an interdisciplinary field that draws on concepts and methods from across academia. We find that interdisciplinarity comes at a cost: sustainability research in economics and the social sciences is centered around a relatively small number of interdisciplinary journals, which may be becoming less valued over time. These findings suggest that, if sustainability research is to live up to its interdisciplinary ideals, researchers must be provided with greater incentives to draw from fields other than their own.


Selected Essays and Short Pieces

2017 Survey of Specialty Crop Growers in Michigan and Ohio

Guang Han, Ethan D. Schoolman, Louis Wright Morton, J.G. Arbuckle. (2018) Sociology Technical Report 1055 (Iowa State University) | HE-2018-03 (Rutgers University). Department of Sociology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Available at:


Big-Box Stores

Ethan D. Schoolman. (2015) Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies, pp. 45-46.


Green Horizon: The Theory and Prospects of Thomas Lyson's "Civic Consumption"

Ethan D. Schoolman. (2012) Sociological Forum 26: 460-464.


Bush (George H.W.) Administration

Ethan D. Schoolman. (2012) In Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change, 2nd Edition, pp. 164-166.


Carter Administration

Ethan D. Schoolman. (2012) In Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change, 2nd Edition, pp. 210-212.