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Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production
Webinar: Imagined Futures of Consumption
Future Earth

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Webinar: Imagined Futures of Consumption

Date: December 01, 2021

Hosted by the Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production Working Group on Social Change Beyond Consumerism.

The presentation draws analysis of data from a Mass Observation Directive (December 2018 – February 2019) which asked volunteers to “imagine the consumption of goods and services in the future—for yourself, for younger generations and for society as a whole”. 118 written responses were analysed using a methodology drawing on Anne Mische’s (2009) concept of “dimensions of projectivity”, or differing orientations to the future. Three analytically distinct imagined futures were identified: The Frugal ‘Good Life’; Post-Consumer Society Dystopia; and Techno-Futures. The first two, dominant imaginaries, represent positive and negative appraisals of a future of consumption constrained by ecological limits and resource scarcities. The third, noticeably distinct from modernist utopias of socio-technical progress, imagines society reorganised in both progressive and dystopian ways through intensified technological trends, such as automation and digitisation.

Speaker: Dan Welch

Dan is a Lecturer in Sociology and researcher at the Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester, UK. His research interests focus on the intersections of consumption studies, sustainability, social change, social futures and social theory. He is Co-Editor of new journal Consumption & Society, due to launch in 2022.

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