Sustainability and Everyday Life

Friday 5 June 2015
2.00 - 4.00pm

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The Refectory, in the Main Quadrangle



Department of Gender and Cultural Studies

Tania Lewis and David Schlosberg discuss environmental activism and the ways we think about sustainability in our everyday lives.

The Department of Gender and Cultural Studies hosts a lively departmental research seminar series. Participants include staff, associates and postgraduate students from the department, as well as presenters from other University of Sydney departments and from outside, both nationally and internationally.

2015 Seminars are held in The Refectory, in the Main Quadrangle (the building with the clocktower at the top of University Drive, off Parramatta Rd). You can find The Refectory downstairs from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences office.Please join us after the seminar for drinks at the Holme Courtyard Bar

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Seminar Series convenors: Natalya Lusty and Anthea Taylor


David Schlosberg will present a paper which analyzes recent developments in environmental activism, in particular food, energy, and crafting movements that are about new everyday practices. No longer willing to take part in unsustainable practices and institutions, and not satisfied with purely individualistic and consumer responses on the one hand or the public policy realm on the other, a growing focus of environmental movement groups is on restructuring everyday practices. I examine this shift to a more ‘sustainable materialism’ using three frameworks: a) a critique of the politics of postmaterialism; b) a response to the understanding of power embedded in the circulation of things, information, and individuals; and c) a new ethos around vibrant and sustainable materialism, with an explicit recognition of human immersion in nonhuman natural systems. These frames allow us to see and interpret common themes across a number of seemingly disparate initiatives and movements focused on replacing unsustainable practices and forging alternative flows.

 Tania Lewis is an Associate Professor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. Her research focuses on lifestyle and consumption with a particular emphasis on urban and suburban practices of sustainability. She is the author of Smart Living: Lifestyle Media and Popular Expertise (Peter Lang: 2008), editor of TV Transformations (Routledge: 2009), and co-editor of Ethical Consumption: A Critical Introduction (Routledge, 2011). She recently completed a monograph (with co-authors Fran Martin and Wanning Sun) for Duke University Press entitled Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia and is co-editing two collections for Routledge, Green Asia and Lifestyle Media in Asia. She is a chief investigator (with Kim Humphery) on the ARC discovery project, ‘Ethical Consumption: From the Margins to the Mainstream’ (2013–15), and (with Yolande Strengers) on the three-year project ‘Work-life ecologies: lifestyle, sustainability, practices’, funded by RMIT’s Sustainable Urban Precincts Project. She recently completed a two year project on environmental equity with the Environment Protection Agency in Victoria.

David Schlosberg is Professor of Environmental Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, and co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute. Professor Schlosberg is known internationally for his work in environmental politics, environmental movements, and political theory – in particular the intersection of the three with his work on environmental justice. His recent work includes the co-authored Climate-Challenged Society (Oxford 2013) with John Dryzek and Richard Norgaard, and the forthcoming co-edited Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory. His current research includes work on climate justice – in particular justice and transformation in adaptation strategies and policies, and the question of human obligations of justice to the nonhuman realm. He is also examining the sustainable practices of new environmental movement groups – in particular their attention to flows of power and goods in relation to food, energy, housing, transportation, and crafting and making.