Moving towards a future sustainable life - attempts to change the contemporary world
Nina Gren (Lund University)
Hanna Wittrock (Swedish School of Textiles)
Aula Magna-Kungsstenen
Friday 17 August, 9:00-10:45, 11:15-13:00 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

This panel focuses on projects and processes that attempt to create sustainable lives in a wide sense, such as urban gardening, local theatre groups and rehabilitation for burned-out employees. We invite papers that critically discuss and investigate such attempts in relation to an imagined future.

Long abstract:

Environmental degradation, climate change, mass-migration and over-consumption are contemporary global concerns. In addition, social issues, such as failed integration of migrants, urban alienation and stressful work-environments are commonly seen as obstacles to a good life, not least in the global North. Many have given up on their political leaders' ability to promote positive transformation and have instead taken action to work on themselves and their immediate surroundings.

There are many attempts (often local and small-scale) aiming to produce change towards more sustainable lives. The notion of sustainability is presented as the solution, as well as the end goal, to a wide range of problems. 'Sustainability' is frequently imagined as distinguished by ecologic food production, reduced consumption, the sharing of resources, community and a more spiritual life. The discourse on sustainability is used in multiple and overlapping ways.

This proposed panel invites papers that discuss and explore projects or processes, which try to create or have already created the predicaments for sustainability. We are for instance thinking of urban gardening, neighbourhood theatre groups, rehabilitation projects for burned-out people, youth projects in segregated suburbs, flee markets, local ecological farmers' markets and circular flows for textile consumption. Papers should discuss the complexities of such attempts and critically explore for instance power imbalances, gender ideologies, moral ideals, nostalgia and utopian visions within them. Theoretically, we invite the paper presenters to think about their work in relation to imaginations, anticipations and aspirations for the future (e.g. Appadurai 1996; 2013).