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Confronting Consumption (The MIT Press)

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9780262661287: Confronting Consumption (The MIT Press)
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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 Consumption places 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.

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Review:

A Comprehensive analysis of how and why consumer society wreaks havoc on Earth.

--syracuseculturalworkers.org

...an excellent exploration of what could turn out to be one of the frontrank issues of our time.

--Norman Myers, Nature

Are you willing to confront consumption?...then read this book.

--Vicki Robin, Journal of Positive Futures

The authors are to be commended for breaking the code of silence surrounding consumption and engaging the debate.

--Richard Walthers, Green @ Work Magazine

The book certainly succeeds in thinking 'outside the box'...

--Global Environmental Politics

About the Author:

Thomas Princen explores ecological and economic sustainability at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Treading Softly: Paths to Ecological Order and The Logic of Sufficiency (both published by the MIT Press). Michael Maniates is Professor of Political Science and Environmental Science at Allegheny College. He is the coeditor, with Thomas Princen and Ken Conca, of Confronting Consumption (MIT Press, 2002). Ken Conca is Associate Professor of Government and Politics and Director of the Harrison Program on the Future Global Agenda at the University of Maryland.

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