Confronting Consumption

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2002-07-01
  • Publisher: Mit Pr
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Comforting terms such as "sustainable development" and "green production" frame environmental debate by stressing technology (not green enough), economic growth (not enough in the right places), and population (too large). Concern about consumption emerges, if at all, in benign ways--as calls for green purchasing or more recycling, or for small changes in production processes. Many academics, policymakers, and journalists, in fact, accept the economists' view of consumption as nothing less than the purpose of the economy. Yet many people have a troubled, intuitive understanding that tinkering at the margins of production and purchasing will not put society on an ecologically and socially sustainable path. Confronting Consumptionplaces consumption at the center of debate by conceptualizing "the consumption problem" and documenting diverse efforts to confront it. In Part 1, the book frames consumption as a problem of political and ecological economy, emphasizing core concepts of individualization and commoditization. Part 2 develops the idea of distancing and examines transnational chains of consumption in the context of economic globalization. Part 3 describes citizen action through local currencies, home power, voluntary simplicity, "ad-busting," and product certification. Together, the chapters propose "cautious consuming" and "better producing" as an activist and policy response to environmental problems. The book concludes that confronting consumption must become a driving focus of contemporary environmental scholarship and activism.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Confronting Consumption
Thomas Princen
Michael Maniates
Ken Conca
I The Consumption Angle 21(80)
Consumption and Its Externalities: Where Economy Meets Ecology
Thomas Princen
Individualization: Plant a Tree, Buy a Bike, Save the World?
Michael Maniates
Commoditization: Consumption Efficiency and an Economy of Care and Connection
Jack Manno
II Chains of Consumption 101(96)
Distancing: Consumption and the Severing of Feedback
Thomas Princen
Consumption and Environment in a Global Economy
Ken Conca
The Distancing of Waste: Overconsumption in a Global Economy
Jennifer Clapp
Environmentally Damaging Consumption: The Impact of American Markets on Tropical Ecosystems in the Twentieth Century
Richard Tucker
III On the Ground 197(132)
In Search of Consumptive Resistance: The Volunatary Simplicity Movement
Michael Maniates
Jamming Culture: Adbusters' Hip Media Campaign against Consumerism
Marilyn Bordwell
Think Globally, Transact Locally: The Local Currency Movement and Green Political Economy
Eric Helleiner
Caveat Certificatum: The Case of Forest Certification
Fred Gale
Citizens or Consumers: The Home Power Movement as a New Practice of Technology
Jesse Tatum
Conclusion: To Confront Consumption
Thomas Princen
Michael Maniates
Ken Conca
Notes 329(46)
Contributors 375(2)
Index 377

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