SCI Seminar Series - Professor Kate Soper
|28 September 2016
|16:00 - 17:30
|What is it:
|Sustainable Consumption Institute
|Professor Kate Soper
Professor Kate Harvey, Emerita Professor of Philosophy, London Metropolitan University will be giving the SCI Seminar on the 28 September 2016, entitled 'The interaction of policy and experience: an “alternative hedonist” optic'. The seminar will be held in Room B5, Alliance Manchester Business School East, between 4.00 - 5.30 pm. Coffee and registration from 3.45 pm.
My argument on ‘alternative hedonism’ has been charged with making too much of individual consumer agency at the cost of taking proper account of social movement activities, or of the essential role of state and institutional initiatives in promoting sustainable consumption. Its engagement with consumer disaffection with afflunce has also been criticized for abstracting from the development needs of the more impoverished global communities. The intention, however, was never to deny the importance of ‘top down’ initiatives but rather to emphasise their reliance in modern democracies upon electoral support and their necessary interaction with the experiences of individuals. I shall here expand on these aspects of my argument; and also illustrate the ways in which subjective support for new forms of ‘policing’ of consumption is reinforced and extended through provision for the ‘alternative hedonist’ experience. The avant-garde of consumers who opt to ‘self-police’ their consumption in the interests of sustainability is likely to remain an ineffective minority unless swelled by proactive public policy that allows new structures of feeling to be actualized through the provision of alternative forms of experience. In its application to public policy, ‘alternative hedonism’ is not a theory that ascribes needs in the absence of any subjective cognition of them but a theory of the actualization of those needs through the provision that builds on their embryonic presence and potential for development. And although ‘alternative hedonism’ does indeed focus on individual disaffection with affluent consumption, and thus with an elitist first world response to consumerism, it does so in virtue of its possible leverage in bringing about a broader social movement. By revising conceptions of self-interest among affluent consumers, an ‘alternative hedonist’ politics can help to set off this relay of political pressures for a fairer global distribution of resources and more sustainable economic order.
Professor Kate Soper
Role: Emerita Professor of Philosophy
Organisation: London Metropolitan University
Biography: Kate Soper is Emerita Professor of Philosophy at London Metropolitan University. She has published widely on environmental philosophy, ecocriticism, theory of needs and consumption, and cultural theory. More recent books include What is Nature? Culture, Politics and the Non-Human (Blackwell, 1995), Citizenship and Consumption (co-editor, Palgrave, 2007) and The Politics and Pleasures of Consuming Differently (co-editor, Palgrave, 2008). She has been a member of the editorial collectives of Radical Philosophy and New Left Review and a columnist for Capitalism, Nature, Socialism. Her study on ‘Alternative hedonism and the theory and politics of consumption’ was funded in the ESRC/AHRC ‘Cultures of Consumption’ Programme (www.consume.bbk.ac.uk). She has participated since in a number of research projects on climate change and sustainable consumption, most recently as a Visiting Fellow at the Pufendorf Institute, Lund University, Sweden.
Travel and Contact Information
Manchester Business School East