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The sociology of consumption has had a fraught relationship with aesthetics, with varying levels of interest in the concept throughout the history of the discipline. Today, aesthetics is barely mentioned at all and is not considered to be relevant to enabling transitions towards more sustainable futures. In this article I demonstrate how this is due both to the prevalent understanding of aesthetics in sociology – anchored in Kantian discourse on art – and the unwitting consequences of the disciplinary developments which have taken place following the cultural turn. Drawing from philosophy and anthropology, I then present two different understandings of aesthetics, inspired by Aristotle and Dewey, which provide more fruitful avenues for engaging with the concept. The article presents existing work taking these definitions forward and shows how reconceptualising aesthetics enables us both to grasp the specificities of the unsustainable patterns of consumption of the wealthy and unequal societies of Europe, North America and Australasia, and envision the possibility of a societal transformation beyond the consumer aesthetics of ‘the Capitalocene’. Decoupling aesthetics from art, I argue for the importance of defamiliarisation and aesthetic revisioning in the creation of fairer, more sustainable and better futures.

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