School of Management
Royal Holloway University of London

The Centre for Research into Sustainability

Inter-disciplinary Perspectives on Consumption, Ethics & Sustainability

Event photoAttendees at the sustainable consumption workshop


This seminar draws on the observation that whilst research into ethical and socio-political consumerism has grown significantly in the last two decades, far less attention has been paid into its conceptual parameters (e.g. Devinney et al. 2010) and there is little cross-disciplinary collaboration.  Perhaps due to the urge to provide practitioners with answers to some of the more empirical questions, academics have not paused to explore what is or should be entailed in notions of consumer responsibility, and for whom (e.g. Brinkmann and Peattie, 2008; Caruana and Crane, 2008).

In this seminar we attempt to redress this issue by picking up some key threads lying at the intersection of consumer culture, politics and ethics. We will discuss related special issues (e.g. JBR 2009, CMC 2010, IJCS 2009 etc) and recent books (e.g. Littler, 2009; Micheletti et al. 2010, Devinney et al. 2010; Harrison et al. 2005; Soper et al. 2008). Overall the seminar is aimed to be an informal setting for cross-disciplinary dialogue: presentations will take various formats and allow space(s) for questions and contemplation.


11.00 - 11.30 Coffee and welcome
11.30 - 12.15 “The Ethical Consumer: a book in time?”
Terry Newholm, University of Manchester, discusses developments since the publication of the book in 2005 and points to that contrary to the underlying assumption in many marketing studies, consumption ethics, with its associated activism, has a very long history.
12.15 - 13.00 “Researching consumption spaces, production spaces and the links in between”
Dorothea Kleine , Royal Holloway, University of London discusses the empirical research and views from geography.
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 14.45 “Radical Consumption – Shopping for Change?”
Jo Littler, Middlesex University, discusses her recent book in relation to its context of media and cultural studies and considers how this disciplinary area has treated the question of consumerism.
14.45 - 15.30  “Culture, Critique and the Real World”
Martin Ryle, University of Sussex, discusses how the marginal position of literary and cultural studies favours, and how it pre-empts, the development of critical perspectives on everyday consumption and mainstream economic reason.
15.30 - 15.45 Coffee
15.45 - 16.45 Roundtable and discussion "Towards a More Inter-Disciplinary Understanding of Consumption, Ethics and Politics". 

Roundtable participants:
Rob Harrison, Ethical Consumer Magazine
Robert Caruana, Nottingham University Business School
Alan Bradshaw, Royal Holloway, University of London
16.45 – 18.00 Drinks reception

Event Details

Wednesday 14th September 2011, 11am - 6pm
Bedford Square seminar room

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Bedford Square, 2 Gower Street, WC1E 6DP 

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