Issue Editors: Ole Bjerg, Christian Garmann Johnsen, Bent Meier Sørensen and Lena Olaison
Perpetual economic growth is an underlying assumption of the contemporary capitalist organization of society. The idea of growth is embedded not only in the corpus of economic thought but also in the institutions of the economy (Binswanger, 2013; Gorz, 2012). More recently, entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity have been seen as possible ways to solve the current economic and environmental crisis as well as to generate growth (Schaper, 2002). This is the case because entrepreneurship and innovation are portrayed as seeds of new initiatives and ideas that will boost economic development while simultaneously reduce its impact on the climate. Such a belief has produced new markets, such as carbon markets, and an emerging ‘climate capitalism’ (Böhm, Murtola and Spoelstra, 2012). At the heart of this logic is a faith in the individual economic actor, not least the entrepreneur, as... more
Issue Editors: Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Rashné Limki and Bernadette Loacker
Work and consumption have always been intertwined, their interaction shaped by social and historical circumstances. The ‘consumer society’ (Baudrillard, 1998/1970) that we arguably live in is often associated with a fading interest in work. On this view, wage labour is seen simply as a way of funding consumption during leisure time (Berger, 1964; Gorz, 1985). However, the boundaries between consumption and work have become increasingly blurred. Consumption is no longer confined to leisure, having become central to the employment relationship (Korczynski, 2007; Dale, 2012), but also transcending it. At the same time, some consumption has become productive in the circuits of capital (Arvidsson, 2005). While both the themes of work and consumption have been discussed separately (including in ephemera, e.g. Beverungen et al., 2011; Dunne et al., 2013; Egan-Wyer et al., 2014), this special issue aims to bring them together by... more
The Idea of communism, as Alain Badiou (2008: 98) explains, is an historical anchoring point ‘of everything elusive, slippery and evanescent’, a becoming-truth that negates capitalism, the institutions which support it and the ideology of ‘there is no alternative’. A communistic impulse is arguably present in all of us, an impulse for equality, self-determination and justice: an impulse that business and politicians capture in claims about fairness, inclusivity and now sensitivity to the environment.
If Politics, following Aristotle (1984), is a matter of analysing, comparing and ultimately creating practices of human association, we will do well to regard consumption practices as inherently political. Such a regard requires us to take a comparative-prospective disposition towards the roles and practices that underpin the production and distribution of subsistence and luxury.
This age of austerity comes on the back of a lengthened period of apparently rampant consumer excess: that was a party for which we are all now having to pay. A spectacular period of unsustainably funded over-indulgence, it seems, has now given rise to a sobering period of barely fundable mere-subsistence. Consumption, narrated along such lines, is a sin which has to be paid for. Beyond the deceptive theology of consumption, however, lies actual politics.
This conference explores the relationships between consumption, accumulation, production, reproduction and politics today. Taking the apparent generalisation of conditions of austerity as an opportunity to re-visit longer ongoing debates surrounding the extra-economic nature of commodity consumption, and its complex relationship to commodity production, the conference asks whether traditional conceptualisations of the politics of consumption require revision.... more