Dissertation Abstracts

Downshifting as Alternative Lifestyle Practices in Contemporary Society

Author: Zaritska, Nadiia , nadiia.zaritska@gmail.com
Department: Social Structures and Social Relations
University: Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine
Supervisor: Nabrusko Iryna
Year of completion: 2015
Language of dissertation: Ukrainian

Keywords: downshifting , alternative lifestyle practice , voluntary downward mobility , rational choice theory
Areas of Research: Social Classes and Social Movements , Rational Choice , Biography and Society


The dissertation is devoted to a theoretical and empirical interpretation of downshifting as a result of implementation of individually rational life strategies and construction of alternative lifestyle practices according to the theory of rational choice. Downshifting is defined as a complex of lifestyle practices, which is alternative to dominant values and perceptions of successful social status. It is also defined as a result of rational life strategies implementation. Alternative practices are based on changes of individual value and are performed through the voluntary downward social mobility. A research methodology was developed for studying downshifting as alternative lifestyle practices. Author’s case study was implemented in the dissertation. The essence of downshifting practices in Ukrainian society is revealed through lifestyle indicators. Main of them are: professional employment, working hours and working regime, free time, consumption patterns, political and religious beliefs, health. Two forms of downshifting are described according to the indicators mentioned above - partial and full. Voluntary downward mobility is defined as main mechanism of transition to these forms. Downshifting practices were triggered by such changes in values as reducing of the significance of dominant values (related to professional and career development, material wealth and prestige); and actualization of alternative values. A causal link between dissatisfaction in life and a transition to downshifting is established. Life dissatisfaction itself is caused by lack of free time, pursuit of independence and self-fulfillment, as well as desire of healthier and ecological lifestyle.