In January 2023, Anders Rhiger Hansen visited Lund University to talk to Max Koch about sustainable welfare, human needs, social inequality and a little bit about Bourdieu. The message from Max was clear: politicians need to drop the idea of green growth and instead define a safe and just operating space to determine what can be done within this space. His sociological approach combines Marxian and Bourdieusean traditions, and he recommends that the Consumption and Society community investigates consumption in combination with processes of production, for example by engaging with critical political economy approaches such as the French regulation school or the Frankfurt School. According to Koch, the survival of the planet requires holistic approaches that would transform society and its exchanges with nature, based on principles of degrowth and on a scale that we have not yet seen.
Many people have been labelled with psychiatric ‘diagnoses’ such as ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’. That was one of the labels that was bestowed on me, amongst others, incorrectly. This poem speaks to what I experienced.
Intersectionality is a concept that has received little attention in scholarship on consumption, despite its significant relevance. Marie Plessz and Stefan Wahlen organised a roundtable held at the European Sociological Association (ESA) Consumption research network (RN5) interim meeting, 2 September 2022, in Oslo. This is a summarised and edited transcript of this roundtable discussion. As such, it advances the conceptual lens of intersectionality applied to (food) consumption studies and critically assesses possible future avenues of research that build on existing approaches. It first discusses the role of social and political positions that might be considered intersectionally, to then outline central characteristics as well as empirical strategies when investigating food. This transcript also showcases a possible novel format that is welcomed in the journal Consumption and Society.
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.