The YESI Waste and Resource Use Network, in association with the Research Champions for Culture and Communication, would like to invite you to attend a networking event on the theme of Cultures of Consumption. This will be a discussion event, designed to explore common themes and areas for interdisciplinary research. It draws on some of the core strengths of the University of York in environmental science, sustainability, and the humanities and social sciences. It forms part of the Culture and Communication theme priority on objects and materials.
Consumption is one of the defining features of our age, with global networks of supply and demand that infiltrate every aspect of human life. Patterns of mass consumption have reshaped demand and attitudes to material goods, which in turn occupy a different space in our lives. These demands have enormous implications for the future of our planet, affecting the need for material resources (water, fuels, minerals, plant and animal products) and contributing enormously to carbon emissions. Too often, discussion of climate change focuses on the production of goods and not on patterns of consumption that drive that production. Although centres of global production are often located outside Europe, particularly in China, the EU is the world’s largest consumer.
Understanding these linked processes is essential in researching consumption. We must understand the drivers, located in the social worlds of material consumption and the values attached to material goods, as well as the networks by which those demands are met. This calls for cross-disciplinary collaboration and conversation. This networking event is widely interdisciplinary, so as to explore all aspects of material consumption. We invite researchers to explore aspects of value, consumption, resource use, recycling and the circular economy from any disciplinary perspective. This might include:
- Explorations of social value attached to materials and objects, now and in the past
- Cross-cultural comparisons of approaches to material goods
- Exploring the ‘circular economy’ of reuse and recycling in multiple contexts, including not only technological and economic aspects, but also social and cultural dimensions
- Drawing out the impacts of regional, national and international production and consumption through a holistic approach to material flows
Those attending the event will be encouraged to discuss their own research interests in the material world with a group drawn from across the disciplines. Discussion will be directed with a view towards developing collaborative research directions and a major interdisciplinary grant. Please come along and tell us about the ways your research touches on consumption and resource use. We encourage as diverse a group as possible.
This is currently an online meeting but will be changed to in-person if we can arrange a suitable room on campus.