1st Edition

Consumption Corridors
Living a Good Life within Sustainable Limits

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 3, 2021
ISBN 9780367748722
March 3, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
112 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

USD $59.95

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Book Description

Consumption Corridors: Living a Good Life within Sustainable Limits explores how to enhance peoples’ chances to live a good life in a world of ecological and social limits.

Rejecting familiar recitations of problems of ecological decline and planetary boundaries, this compact book instead offers a spirited explication of what everyone desires: a good life. Fundamental concepts of the good life are explained and explored, as are forces that threaten the good life for all. The remedy, says the book’s seven international authors, lies with the concept of consumptions corridors, enabled by mechanisms of citizen engagement and deliberative democracy.

Across five concise chapters, readers are invited into conversation about how wellbeing can be enriched by social change that joins "needs satisfaction" with consumerist restraint, social justice, and environmental sustainability. In this endeavour, lower limits of consumption that ensure minimal needs satisfaction for all are important, and enjoy ample precedent. But upper limits to consumption, argue the authors, are equally essential, and attainable, especially in those domains where limits enhance rather than undermine essential freedoms.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars in the social sciences and humanities, environmental and sustainability studies, but also community activists and the general public.

Table of Contents

1. Living Well Within Limits

2. Our Vision: The Good Life

But what is a good life?

Focusing on needs

Slipping through our fingers

Can we be responsible for a good life for others?

3. Consumption Corridors as a Vehicle to Pursue the Good Life

The idea

Limits are already out there

What kind of processes are needed?

Getting started and building momentum

4. What’s Stopping Us?

Limits to the salvation potential of technological innovation

Limits to efficiency and markets as solutions

Limits to consumer sovereignty and responsibility

No limits to freedom in democratic societies?

Shedding myths in pursuit of social change

5. Visionary Change: Corridors as a Pathway to the Good Life

Annex 1: Needs

Annex 2: Indicators of Quality of Life

Annex 3: Estimates of upper and lower sustainable limits in floor space


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Doris Fuchs is Chair of International Relations and Sustainable Development at the University of Muenster, Germany.

Marlyne Sahakian is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Tobias Gumbert is a Lecturer at the Institute of Political Science, University of Muenster, Germany.

Antonietta Di Giulio is a Senior Researcher at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Michael Maniates is Professor of Social Science (Environmental Studies) at Yale-NUS College, Singapore.

Sylvia Lorek is Chair of the Sustainable Europe Research Institute, Germany, and Adjunct Professor in Consumer Economics at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Antonia Graf is a Junior Professor of Global Environmental Governance at the University of Muenster, Germany.


"This lively, reader-friendly book sets out the case for ‘consumption corridors’ – a novel route to enjoyable but sustainable lives for all of us in the rich world of the 2020s. It makes a compelling – almost obvious – case, clarifies the obstacles, and sketches a practical vision to propel us on the journey to ‘living well within limits’."

Ian Gough, Visiting Professor in CASE and Associate of GRI, London School of Economics, UK

"This book masterfully explains why sustainable limits, in the form of consumption corridors, are a central concept for addressing fundamental issues of justice and power, and to imagine workable pathways to a better future. Too often sustainability remains apolitical and vague: sustainable consumption corridors bring research into the reality we all need to transform."

Julia K. Steinberger, Professor of Societal Challenges of Climate Change, University of Lausanne, Switzerland