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Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production
Webinar: Why do we consume so much ? The organization of affluent consumption
Future Earth

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Webinar: Why do we consume so much ? The organization of affluent consumption

Date: November 28, 2023

Time: 13:30-15:00 pm UK / 14:30-16:00 pm CET

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


In climate expertise, reduced consumption appears as a major lever of ecological transition. Following numerous social sciences studies, the paper suggests that ecological transition could not rest on the shoulders of consumers alone. It highlights that the political economy of affluent consumption results from interdependencies between public policies, corporate business models and consumer practices. Taking an economic sociological and Foucauldian perspective, the paper develops a research agenda to explore how affluent consumption has been institutionalized in consumerist societies. Highly resource intensive affluent consumption is structural in both economic public policies and business models of companies and is therefore constantly organised and governed. Not imposed on individuals by force or manipulation, the government of consumption is based on technologies of power that shape and orient consumers’ conduct, by activating and playing on the dispositions they have acquired through market socialisation.

Speaker BIO

Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier is research professor at Sciences Po and CNRS, and director of the Center for the Sociology of Organizations in Paris, France. Her research is situated in the field of economic sociology, and her focus is on the social construction of consumers and markets. She aims at understanding how consumers’ economic behaviour is shaped by the relationship between corporations’ practices, public policies, and social movement activism. She has worked and published on ethical consumption, environmental and anti-corporate movements and environmental policies. Her work has appeared in several academic journals, such as Social Movement Studies, Organization Studies, Journal of Consumer Culture and Sociologia Ruralis. She is a member of the French High Council for Climate.