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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