Imagining and co-creating futures of sustainable consumption and society

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Charlotte Louise Jensen CONCITO, Denmark1

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Frederikke Oldin Gentænk, Denmark

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Gregers Andersen Aalborg University, Denmark

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With the increasing pressure on the climate from human activities, it is urgent to envision and facilitate radically different ways of life that allow for significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions. This only happens if policy and action initiatives go beyond discursive practices that treat climate change mitigation as a matter of technological fixes, and individual behavioural change. Decades of research on the sociology of consumption show that lifestyle changes are as much about changes to norms and ideas about what ‘a good life’ is as they are about access to the necessary competences, infrastructures and sustainable alternatives. Acknowledging the growing body of sociological research that seeks to understand how expectations of the future shape processes of social change in the present, more attention could be paid to the role of discourse, narratives and storying when it comes to making efforts towards carbon neutral climate futures. Taking as a point of departure a futuring methodology called the Future Travel Workshop, this article discusses the potential role of stories through Moezzi et al’s (2017) notion of stories as inquiry and stories as process for futurity. Comprised of three sessions, the workshop explores what future everyday lives and societies might look and feel like. Each session is framed by a set of narratives on climate related problems of the present, and how these problems affect the way we think about futures. Interestingly, the participants’ imagined futures went from technologically utopic and tension-free towards tense and radically different conceptions of the needed levels of societal reorganisation.

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Charlotte Louise Jensen CONCITO, Denmark1

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Frederikke Oldin Gentænk, Denmark

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Gregers Andersen Aalborg University, Denmark

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