Publication Type:Conference Paper
Source:8th IAS-STS Annual Conference - "Critical Issues in Science and Technology Studies", Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society, Graz, Austria (2009)
Keywords:Anarchism, Consumption, Neoliberalism, Production, Sustainability
The notion that “sustainable” consumption and production are possible is a central concern of the sustainable development (SD) discourse. By way of drawing on insights from ethnographic fieldwork with environmental managers of multinational corporations this paper critically questions the field of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). In terms of theory the form of critique is informed by Science and Technology Studies, as approached from a position developed within the field of Anarchist Studies. First, we introduce the latter approach as sketched based on Woodhouse et al. 2002 (Science studies and activism: Possibilities and problems for reconstructivist agendas in Social Studies of Science), Martin 2006 (Strategies for Alternative Science in The New Political Sociology of Science: Institutions, Networks, and Power, University of Wisconsin Press) and Thorpe and Welsh 2008 (Beyond primitivism: Towards a twenty-first century anarchist theory and praxis of science and technology in Anarchist Studies). Second, taking this approach, the paper develops a specific critique on SCP informed by social movements’ problematisation of SD. Third, we can juxtapose the conception of SCP, established in the former anarchist STS construction, with the construal of SCP by an alternative ideology, i.e., the hegemonic approach of neoliberalism. Thus, the paper argues, by problematising the hegemonic system of meanings within SCP through an anarchist account of STS we can contribute to the building of sustainable sociotechnonatures. Based on this argument we find ground for questioning: Are we actually asking the right questions within the SCP discourse?