Sustainable Consumption and the Good Life: Interdisciplinary perspectives, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Sustainable Consumption and the Good Life

Interdisciplinary perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Karen Lykke Syse, Martin Lee Mueller


266 pages

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Paperback: 9781138212466
pub: 2016-07-15
Hardback: 9781138013001
pub: 2014-12-03
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pub: 2014-11-20
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What does it mean to live a good life in a time when the planet is overheating, the human population continues to steadily reach new peaks, oceans are turning more acidic, and fertile soils the world over are eroding at unprecedented rates? These and other simultaneous harms and threats demand creative responses at several levels of consideration and action.

Written by an international team of contributors, this book examines in-depth the relationship between sustainability and the good life. Drawing on wealth of theories, from social practice theory to architecture and design theory, and disciplines, such as anthropology and environmental philosophy, this volume promotes participatory action-research based approaches to encourage sustainability and wellbeing at local levels. It covers topical issues such the politics of prosperity, globalization, and indigenous notions of "the good life" and happiness". Finally it places a strong emphasis on food at the heart of the sustainability and good life debate, for instance binding the global south to the north through import and exports, or linking everyday lives to ideals within the dream of the good life, with cookbooks and shows.

This interdisciplinary book provides invaluable insights for researchers and postgraduate students interested in the contribution of the environmental humanities to the sustainability debate.


"Unlimited growth has not only damaged the biosphere, but also disrupted solidarity and cohesion within and between human groups. Sustainability Consumption and the Good Life presents and questions various adaptations to the environmental crises. The book is timely as it challenges and reframes issues of consumption and well-being to meet the demands of an overheating planet."Peder Anker, New York University, USA

"Living well is an aspiration freighted with environmental, economic and ethical import. It pulses through contemporary society, just as it did the ancient world. In this book, affirmative responses are found to critical questions about new designs for life, always mindful of twenty-first century challenges. It gives us insights into how consumptive habits can become more just and wise, as well as answerable to needs and relations scaled from the personal to the planetary. In these pages, our own reckoning is identified as the means for a powerful reawakening." –Hayden Lorimer, University of Glasgow, UK

Table of Contents

1. Enough Is Enough? Re-Imagining an Ethics and Aesthetics of Sustainability for the 21st Century Lawrence Buell 2. The Essayistic Spirit of Utopia Thorunn Gullaksen Endreson 3. Towards a Sustainable Flourishing: Democracy, Hedonism and the Politics of Prosperity Kate Soper 4. Is the Good Life Sustainable? A Three-Decade Study of Values, Happiness and Sustainability in Norway Ottar Hellevik 5. Well-Being and Environmental Responsibility Bengt Brülde 6. The Problem of Habits for a Sustainable Transformation Hal Wilhite 7. Well-Being in Sustainability Transitions: Making Use of Needs Felix Rauschmayer and Ines Omann 8. Human Needs and the Environment Reconciled: Participatory Action-Research for Sustainable Development in Peru Mònica Guillen-Royo 9. On the Good Life and Rising Electricity Consumption in Rural Zanzibar Tanja Winther 10. Celebrity Chefs, Ethical Food Consumption, and the Good Life Karen Lykke Syse 11. Follow the Food. How Eating and Drinking Shape Our Cities Jesper Pagh 12. Caged Welfare. Evading the Good Life for Egg Laying Hens Kristian Bjørkdahl 13. Being Salmon, Being Human. Notes on an Ecological Turn in the Modern Narrative Tradition Martin Lee Mueller 14. Afterword: Beyond the Paradox of the Big, Bad Wolf Thomas Hylland Eriksen

About the Editors

Karen Lykke Syse is Associate Professor at the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, Norway.

Martin Lee Mueller is a research fellow at the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, Norway.

About the Series

Routledge Environmental Humanities

The Routledge Environmental Humanities series is an original and inspiring venture recognising that today’s world agricultural and water crises, ocean pollution and resource depletion, global warming from greenhouse gases, urban sprawl, overpopulation, food insecurity and environmental justice are all crises of culture.

The reality of understanding and finding adaptive solutions to our present and future environmental challenges has shifted the epicenter of environmental studies away from an exclusively scientific and technological framework to one that depends on the human-focused disciplines and ideas of the humanities and allied social sciences.

We thus welcome book proposals from all humanities and social sciences disciplines for an inclusive and interdisciplinary series. We favour manuscripts aimed at an international readership and written in a lively and accessible style. The readership comprises scholars and students from the humanities and social sciences and thoughtful readers concerned about the human dimensions of environmental change.

Please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ( to submit proposals

Praise for A Cultural History of Climate Change (2016):

A Cultural History of Climate Change shows that the humanities are not simply a late-arriving appendage to Earth System science, to help in the work of translation. These essays offer distinctive insights into how and why humans reason and imagine their ‘weather-worlds’ (Ingold, 2010). We learn about the interpenetration of climate and culture and are prompted to think creatively about different ways in which the idea of climate change can be conceptualised and acted upon beyond merely ‘saving the planet’.

Professor Mike Hulme, King's College London, in Green Letters

Series Editors:

Professor Libby Robin, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra; Guest Professor of Environmental History, Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Sweden.

Dr Paul Warde, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, UK.

Editorial Board

Christina Alt, St Andrews University, UK, Alison Bashford, University of New South Wales, Australia, Peter Coates, University of Bristol, UK, Thom van Dooren, University of New South Wales, Australia, Georgina Endfield, Liverpool UK, Jodi Frawley, University of Western Australia, Andrea Gaynor, The University of Western Australia, Australia, Christina Gerhardt, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, USA,□    Tom Lynch, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA, Iain McCalman, University of Sydney, Australia,    Jennifer Newell, Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia, Simon Pooley, Imperial College London, UK, Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, Ann Waltner, University of Minnesota, US, Jessica Weir, University of Western Sydney, Australia

International Advisory Board

William Beinart,University of Oxford, UK, Jane Carruthers, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa, Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago, USA, Paul Holm, Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Shen Hou, Renmin University of China, Beijing, Rob Nixon, Princeton University, USA, Pauline Phemister, Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, UK, Deborah Bird Rose, University of New South Wales, Australia, Sverker Sörlin, KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, Helmuth Trischler, Deutsches Museum, Munich and Co-Director, Rachel Carson Centre, LMU Munich University, Germany, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University, USA, Kirsten Wehner, University of London, UK

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Economic Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy