Call for abstracts: working group on sustainable practices, consumption and devices

*apologies for cross-posting*

Nordic Environmental Social Science (NESS), Trondheim, Norway june 9-11, 2015. More info:

The world faces an increasingly complex mix of environmental challenges. Some are anchored in local contexts; others are highly global in character. Climate changes, resource depletion and de-forestation and three obvious examples, but many others are equally relevant. Many of these challenges are closely related to consumption. In some cases, the consumption of specific products and general consumption patterns add to the challenges. In other cases, new modes of consumption or the consumption of specific goods or services are seen as a pathway towards a solution. Is sustainable consumption possible? If it is, how do we achieve it? How do we define sustainable consumption? How can we explain patterns of non-sustainable consumption and conceptualize some sort of transition pathway towards sustainability?

Consumption is intimately linked to the notion of practice. Almost all everyday and household practices are associated with the consumption of energy and material resources. For instance, showering takes water, soap and shampoo. Many practices are tightly associated with environmental problems. Certain hunting practices are associated with biodiversity loss, while practices associated with CO2 intensive modes of travel are associated with climate change.

This working group is also interested in the role of technologies in transforming or sustaining practices. As an example, there is currently much hope that new technological gadgets can help establish more sustainable consumption and change practices. An example is found in the hype surrounding “smart” energy technologies. Through providing information and control to users, these should both lower the consumption rates of electricity and change a number of practices that in part depends on electricity consumption.

This working group welcomes empirical and theoretical contributions that stimulate a broad discussion on the relationship between sustainability, consumption, practices and technologies. This includes, but is not limited to the following topics:

· Discussions on consumption, practices or the relationship between them in a sustainability perspective, including studies on the possibilities for promoting sustainable consumption.

· Contributions theorizing on sustainability. What is/should this concept be?

· Practices, consumption and sustainability transitions.

· Empirical discussions on specific technological devices and their role in questions of practice change, sustainability and consumption.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words are to be submitted to the organizers by November 1st.


Tomas Moe Skjølsvold:

Toke Haunstrup Christensen:

Tomas Moe Skjølsvold,
Post doc. dept. of interdisciplinary studies of culture
& H2020 Process leader NTNU/CenSES

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Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies CfP

Call for Proposals: Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS) 2015

Hosted by the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA April 16-19, 2015
Keynote Speakers: Philippa Levine (UT-Austin) and Priscilla Wald (Duke)

The nineteenth century has long been understood as an era of industrial growth, scientific discovery, technological innovation, and imperial expansion. Such sweeping global transformations relied on a complex web of relations between humans and machines, individuals and systems, ideas and practices, as well as more efficient and frequent movement across increasingly connected networks of space. From railroad travel to advances in shipping, from the movement of immigrants, enslaved laborers, scientists and colonial settlers, to the circulation of ideas, bodies, and/as commodities, nineteenth-century mobilities challenged and reconfigured the very constitution of subjects, nations, and cultures across the globe. We seek papers that investigate the various mobilities and exchanges of the nineteenth century. What did it mean to be mobile (or immobile) in this period? How were political, scientific, and cultural ideas exchanged in new ways? How did people maintain and create new affiliations? How might notions of a more mobile sense of nature, the world, and the self influence our understanding of this era?

Specific topics are listed on the attached call for papers.

Deadline: November 15, 2014. For individual papers, send 250-word proposals; for panels, send individual proposals plus a 250-word panel description. Please include a one-page cv with your name, affiliation, and email address. Proposals that are interdisciplinary in method or panels that involve multiple disciplines are especially welcome. Send questions and proposals to or

Cfp_EGOS Sub-theme 25: Devising Markets and Other Valuation Sites

Estudios de la Economía

Devising Markets and Other Valuation Sites. Convened by Liz McFall, Claes-Frederik Helgesson and Pascale Trompette. Invites papers exploring how markets and other valuation sites are ‘devised’ through the interaction of practices, processes and technologies. The aim is to further develop understanding of the role of knowledge and devices in shaping economies and markets in two ways.

  • First, this sub-theme will explore the dynamic practices of ‘devising’. What forms of reasoning, reflexivity and responsibility are at play and how are they distributed across markets and other sites?
  • Second, it considers how things become objects of quantification, judgement and valuation. What gets quantified, calculated, judged and valued as part of this ‘devising work’, by whom and for what purposes.

View original post 508 more words

laser cats and mary parker follett

When I teach my sociology of organizations courses, I always include an underrecognized org theorist, Mary Parker Follett,* who advocated for “power-with” instead of “power over.”  Follett argued that voting and other more conventional decision-making approaches generate dissatisfactory outcomes, in which one or more parties lose.  She suggested that groups engage in a consensus-oriented decision-making process to identify what parties really want and thus generate novel solutions.  However, providing real-life examples of this process is not easy, particularly since many decisions are made hierarchically or when one party tires of the decision-making process.

But, thanks to the Internet, here is one light-hearted example, starring an improbable combination of lasers, Mr. Bigglesworth the cat, and a Chihuahua:

Party A: High school student Draven Rodriguez wanted a memorable photo for the school yearbook.  His desired portrait is definitely awesome:

Awesome portrait taken by Vincent Giodano/Trinactia Photography Awesome portrait taken by Vincent Giodano/Trinactia Photography

Party B: However, the…

View original post 138 more words