The Ethics of Consuming

Project Coordinators: Dr Tania Lewis, Dr Emily Potter and Professor Elspeth Probyn

Cultural Identities and Communities and Cultural Histories and Geographies Nodes

A program of two invitation-only events on the topic of ‘Consuming Ethics’ – the rise of green consumerism and the attachment of specific ethical values to consumer behaviours. Today we are seeing a mainstreaming of ethical concerns around consumption and lifestyle practices, reflecting a growing anxiety about, and sense of responsibility for, the risks and excesses of contemporary lifestyles in the ‘global north’. The proposed program will bring together a range of research topics that constellate around this ‘ethical turn’ – from plastic bags, sexuality and bodies, to the food and beverage industry, to carbon offsetting and the rise of the green consumer celebrity. The outcome will be a ground-breaking edited book on the topic and the opportunity for future research collaborations.

It will consist of a closed local workshop that brings together the domestic contributors to the edited collection to enable initial workshopping of papers, to be held in November 2008, followed by a larger (again invitation-only) workshop in August 2009 that will bring two or three of the international contributors together with local participants for final workshopping of the collection and discussion of themes/ideas that can be developed into future research projects.

Ethical and conscience consumption studies are still a fledgling field and the two workshops will offer an exciting, contemporary, and wide-ranging contribution to this field. Our attention to the transformations in the production end will be innovative. The workshops will enable the disparate research currently being undertaken by CRN members and others to be drawn together into productive conversation, for the first time in Australia. We will develop at least one other CRN-badged event for each of the international scholars brought out for the second workshop (ie lecture, open-door sessions). Several of the key scholars in the field in Australia are members of the CRN and the workshop will bring these scholars together in this context for the first time, with invited non-members. The edited collection will similarly foreground the work of this group of CRN scholars to an international audience.

Project Activities

November 2008

August 2009