Clark University (2013)

Clark University (2013)

The Future of Consumerism and Well-being in a World of Ecological Constraints

Clark University | WORCESTER, MA, USA

JUNE 12-14, 2013
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SCORAI organized an international conference, the first of its kind in the USA, at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. The conference was held from June 12-14, 2013, and aimed to:

  1. Improve our understanding of the complex driving forces underlying prevalent consumerist lifestyles in the wealthy parts of the globe.
  2. Generate insights about fostering a necessary transition toward alternative ways of pursuing individual and societal well-being in a technological society cognizant of ecological limits.
  3. Build on recent developments to establish a vibrant global research community focused on sustainable consumption.

Organizers sought proposals for conference sessions and abstracts for papers and posters based on theoretical and applied research consistent with the conference objectives. Especially welcome were interdisciplinary contributions that addressed the following and related topics:

Consumerism from different perspectives

  • Role of material consumption in enhancing/diminishing individual happiness and social well-being
  • The (changing) relationship between income inequality and consumption
  • Demand side of large-scale socio-technical transitions
  • Evolution of social practices in a technological society and their ecological impacts
  • Social psychology of consumerism
  • Role of finance and economic institutions in perpetuating consumerist lifestyles
  • Consumerism in the context of class and gender
  • Technological design and codes in the evolution of consumption habits
  • Role of business, marketing, and advertising in promoting a consumerist culture

Alternative visions and framings of post-consumerism

  • Environmental politics of sacrifice
  • Conceptual and practical dimensions of sufficiency
  • Ethical dimensions of sustainable consumption
  • Emergent visions for a post-consumerist society and other radical forms of social change
  • Prospects of nascent social movements toward post-consumerism
  • Responsibility of the academic community in affecting transitions to sustainable modes of consumption
  • Teaching non-consumerist values and lifestyles across the educational curriculum

Emergent contours of post-consumerist society

  • Local innovations in fostering alternative systems of provisioning and lifestyles (including grassroots ¬†initiatives)
  • New economic, business, and institutional forms consistent with a post-consumerist society
  • Sustainable consumption in the context of local living economies
  • New economics perspectives and their linkages to reducing energy and material throughput
  • Advent of new work routines, self-provisioning practices, and reskilling from the standpoint of sustainable consumption.
  • Sustainable consumption in the context of political power and dominant institutional structures
  • Navigating the science-policy nexus in research and practice on sustainable consumption

For more details please visit the SCORAI 2013 conference website.