Course Description

In the domains of research related to “development studies” and “consumption studies” these dilemmas, questions and issues are addressed from differing perspectives. The aim of this PhD course is to connect these two research areas. It approaches the linkages between consumption and socio-economic change from different disciplinary perspectives, drawing on theoretical approaches as well as cases from the global North and South in an attempt to understand the many connections and disconnections between development and consumption.

Background

While we know that the consumption levels of the rich countries of the world are environmentally unsustainable, little is done politically to cope with this - beyond “shallow” initiatives such as campaigns for recycling. In both rich countries and elsewhere around the globe, more consumption continues to be equated with development and a better life. This is linked to the deeply anchored associations between the growth in the economy, the quantity of goods servicing everyday lives and the resources and energy needed to fuel them. Indications are that emerging economies of the South are experiencing consumption transformations that involve rapidly increasing elite consumption, increasing environmental pressures and uneven consequences for the less economically privileged.

 

In the domains of research related to “development studies” and “consumption studies” these dilemmas, questions and issues are addressed from differing perspectives. The aim of this PhD course is to connect these two research areas. It approaches the linkages between consumption and socio-economic change from different disciplinary perspectives, drawing on theoretical approaches as well as cases from the global North and South in an attempt to understand the many connections and disconnections between development and consumption.

Specific questions to be addressed in the course are

  • What is the relationship between the macro-economic drive for growth and the culture of everyday consumption?
  • Can the ‘rebound effects’ in consumption be eliminated within a growth economy?
  • Given climate change and other environmental stress, why does achieving a ‘consumer society’ remain the ultimate goal of national development planning around the world?
  • Are there viable examples of national visions for development models in which economic and consumption growth are not regarded as synonymous with prosperity?
Published July 1, 2013 12:32 PM - Last modified Aug. 8, 2017 12:50 PM