Sustainable consumption and social change: intervening in everyday life practices

Unsustainable consumption patterns can lead to negative social and environmental impacts, not least climate change. There are certain consumption domains that have higher impacts than others, such as mobility, meat consumption, and heating homes. In this workshop, you will first be introduced to sociological approaches to understanding everyday life dynamics that are significant in environmental terms, such as getting around, preparing a meal, or being comfortable at home. Working in groups, you will then pick an unsustainable practice and devise ways to intervene in that practice, with consideration for social norms, material arrangements, and skills and competencies, among other factors. The workshop aims to recognize how sustainable consumption dynamics must be embedded in social, institutional, and material arrangements. Information campaigns to influence behavior change or more efficient technologies alone will not suffice. Change needs to be understood in all of its complexity. The end result is a preliminary step towards the co-design of social change initiatives for more sustainable consumption.

About the Speaker

Marlyne Sahakian is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Geneva (Switzerland), where she brings a sociological lens to consumption studies and sustainability. She coordinates research projects on energy, food, and wellbeing, often working with inter-and trans-disciplinary teams. She co-founded SCORAI Europe in 2012, a network for sustainable consumption research and action, and is co-chair of the European Sociological Association’s Research Network on Consumption. She is also co-editor of the newly launched Consumption & Society journal with Bristol University Press.
The target audience is local government officials and civil society organizations.

Armenian/English simultaneous translation available.