Nature as extended-self: Sacred nature relationship and implications for responsible consumption behavior

Vimala Kunchamboo, Christina K.C. Lee, Jan Brace-Govan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This study explores alternate ways to conceptualize the relationship between the self and nature. Specifically, how does nature in general, rather than specific places in nature, becomes part of the extended self? While the theory of the extended self has been applied to understanding relationships with tangible possessions, the theory's application to intangible objects such as nature remain scant. The ethnographic data reveals three dimensions of the self-nature relationship: the relational extended self, the encapsulated self, and the assimilated self. These dimensions illustrate the intensity to perceive nature as part of self. This study provides theoretical insights into understanding how consumers relate to nature, and the processes they employ to view nature as part of their extended self to develop concern for nature, thus encouraging responsible consumption behavior. These dimensions of the self-nature relationship help explain why attitudes and responsible consumption behavior differ among consumers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Ethnography
  • Extended self
  • Responsible consumption behavior
  • Self-nature relationship

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