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

From microplastics in the sea to hyper-trends such as global climate change, mega-extinction, and widening social disparities and displacement, we live on a planet undergoing tremendous flux and uncertainty. At the center of this transformation is human culture, both contributing to the state of the world and responding to planetary change. The Routledge Environmental Humanities Series seeks to engage with contemporary environmental challenges through the various lenses of the humanities and to explore foundational issues in environmental justice, multicultural environmentalism, ecofeminism, environmental psychology, environmental materialities and textualities, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, environmental communication and information management, multispecies relationships, and related topics. The series is premised on the notion that the arts, humanities, and social sciences, integrated with the natural sciences, are essential to comprehensive environmental studies.

The environmental humanities are a multidimensional discipline encompassing such fields as anthropology, history, literary and media studies, philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology, and women’s and gender studies; however, the Routledge Environmental Humanities is particularly eager to receive book proposals that explicitly cross traditional disciplinary boundaries, bringing the full force of multiple perspectives to illuminate vexing and profound environmental topics. We favor manuscripts aimed at an international readership and written in a lively and accessible style. Our readers include scholars and students from across the span of environmental studies disciplines and thoughtful citizens and policy makers interested in 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 Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA

Professor Joni Adamson, Arizona State University, USA

Professor YUKI Masami, Kanazawa University, Japan

Previous editors:

Professor Iain McCalman, University of Sydney Research Fellow in History; Director, Sydney University Environment Institute.

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, Reader in Environmental 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, 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