I’ll be there, leaving the house at stupid o’clock – a wife and cat in nice warm bed – in order to schlep down to Bath to hear all about how doomed we are. #verystrangeman
Barriers to transformative Action
Conference at the University of Bath, UK
PoLIS & Bath Institute for Policy Research
6 December 2013, 1WN 2.14
International climate politics, and sustainability politics more generally, have entered a phase where an unprecedented level of consensus has been achieved that the established economic order, patterns of resource exploitation, wealth distribution and lifestyles in western(ised) consumer societies are profoundly unsustainable and in urgent need of comprehensive structural change, yet where actual policy-making – despite widespread commitment to national and international sustainability plans – more explicitly and determinedly than ever points into the exactly opposite direction. In the wake of the financial crisis, in particular, huge public investment has been injected into re-stabilising rather than radically overhauling the existing order of unsustainability.
In addition to this, the recent eco-sociological literature displays a marked loss of confidence not only in the achievability of meaningful international climate agreements, but also in a whole range of other narratives which were once major sources of eco-political hope: the belief in increasingly powerful and international grass roots movements for an ecologically more benign socio-economic order; the ecological modernisation promise of techno-managerial resource-efficiency revolutions; the hope for a Green New Deal; the narrative of political consumerism and shopping for sustainability; or the claim that new forms of ecological citizenship and alternative hedonism are already emerging.
With none of these – neither individually nor in combination – being likely to deliver anything like the structural transformation which is required, modern societies seem inescapably locked into a technocratic politics of unsustainability. Set against this background, the conference explores why any transition towards sustainability is so difficult to achieve. From a variety of academic perspectives it investigates the barriers to transformative action and thus addresses an issue that has become central to policy makers and to achieving further eco-political progress.
10.30 Opening, Welcome, Intro:
From rapid action to deep enquiry: How may we strengthen the sustainability agenda?
Session I Chair: David Galbreath
11.00 Erik Swyngedouw (Manchester)
Interrogating post-democratisation: Reclaiming egalitarian political spaces
Discussant: Emma Carmel
12.00 Bas Verplanken (Bath)
Why are we not doing our bit? The individualist perspective
Discussant: Joe Szarka
Session II Chair: Oliver Fritsch
14.30 Ingolfur Blühdorn (Bath)
Second-order Emancipation, Social Value Change and Unsustainability: A social-theoretical enquiry
Discussant: David Moon
16.00 Oliver Decker (Leipzig)
Unsustainability, Perceived Threat and Right-Wing Extremist Attitudes: A socio-psychological Approach
Discussant: Anna Bull
17.00 Concluding Round table
Understanding the Barriers to Transformative Action
Chair: Graham Room