Call for papers

May you live in interesting times! 

The theme of “citizenship and consumption” acknowledges that cultural, economic, political and social spheres and consumption cultures are closely intertwined. There is, however, a degree of uncertainty and ambivalence toward the ability of the consumer-citizen / citizen-consumer to influence these spheres. In social life, the distinctions between consumption and citizenship coalesce, as individuals tend to switch between various contextual roles, rules and practices. The intersection of consumption and citizenship is gaining in importance, particularly when reflecting on the ability and power to enact social change, towards more inclusive and sustainable futures.

Theorizing consumption is currently demarcated by debates about rising inequalities and social exclusion, physical and cultural boundaries and political borders, as well as climate change and environmental crisis. Additionally, social media contributes to never ending updates of political deadlock, threats of anxieties and unresolved political and economic crises. Regions of Europe are facing stark exclusion and quasi-tyrannical rule. Neoliberal economic policies hold out the invisible hand, while on the other (less invisible) hand safeguards the wealth of the few with protectionist policies. At the same time, climate activism endorses the political imaginaries of students around the world. Those who engage in ‘lifestyle changes’ are increasingly demonstrating forms of prefigurative politics, in contesting established ways of doing, altering systems of provision and imagining alternative futures. These more affirmative notions consider the collective power of citizens and consumers serving as foresight that overcome ideological boundaries and urges to enact utopian practices in these interesting times.

All this introduces dilemmas and conflicts as well as opportunities and hope for consumers that reach far beyond the antagonism in the transactional relationship between consumers as customers, and sellers of goods and services. Consumption not only challenges identities related to being a consumer or citizen, but also being a merchant, a farmer or a labourer (and potentially all at once). Consumption is related to social justice, welfare, class, empowerment, democracy, inclusion, exclusion and governance. The research network for “Sociology of Consumption” of the European Sociological Association invites to seek novel perspectives into powerfulness and powerlessness of citizenship and consumption. We invite submissions that address sociological theorizing in and around societal and political struggles in these current, interesting times.

Abstract Submission – We invite the submission of abstracts for organized paper sessions, individual papers, lightning talks, roundtables, and working sessions. More detailed information about the session categories can be found below. Abstracts should address various aspects of the sociology of consumption. Possible themes include but are not limited to:

  • Citizenship and consumption
  • Consumption and social movements
  • Empowerment of consumers
  • Ethical and political consumption
  • Systems of provision
  • Consumption inequalities and social exclusions
  • Generations and consumer culture
  • Lifestyles and consumption
  • Collaborative consumption and sharing economies
  • Compulsive consumption
  • Consumption and body (politics)
  • Social capital and consumption
  • Cultural stratification
  • Digitalisation and consumption
  • Food consumption
  • Gender and consumption
  • Leisure and consumption
  • Consumption and tourism
  • Markets of consumption
  • Material culture and immaterial consumption
  • Politics of distinction/ identity by consumption
  • Prosumption: Production and consumption reunified
  • Sociology of taste
  • Cultures of consumption
  • Spaces of consumption
  • Sustainable consumers/ consumption
  • Theories of consumers/ consumption

Guidelines for abstracts

  • Provide a title
  • Length should be max. 250 words

Abstract quality will be judged by coherence of the following evaluation and quality criteria

  • Sociological background of the research (theoretical / research / policy problem…)
  • Research questions and methodology (where contribution is empirical)
  • Key findings, if research is completed (if research is in progress, briefly state it)
  • Implications or contribution with regard to significance of the study/ findings

Letters of acceptance and preliminary programme will be sent to participants by March 30th 2020.

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