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The Greening of Everyday Life: Reimagining Environmentalism in Postindustrial Societies

Posted at May 22, 2013 | By : | Categories : Call For Papers,News,Other

“The Greening of Everyday Life: Reimagining Environmentalism in Postindustrial Societies.”

It is sponsored by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society and will take place in Munich, 19-21 June 2014.

Deadline for proposals is July 15, I welcome those of you considering submitting a proposal to Travel expenses for invited participants will be paid by the Carson Center.  A plain text version of the CfP appears in postscript below.

While environmental challenges including climate change threaten the very fabric of our lives, such that the present course of our societies appears literally unsustainable, ambitious efforts to address  these rarely seem to resonate with the everyday concerns and ideas most pressing to citizens in  post-industrial societies.

This workshop will focus upon the normative implications of everyday material practices for environmental action. In particular, the workshop will focus upon land, transportation, and household  practices. In each of these areas, human experience is inextricably interwoven with technology, the  built environment, and the non-human world. The aim is to approach the political challenges of environmental sustainability by examining these everyday practices and the concerns they foster directly, rather than a more abstract environmental discourse that suggests the need to overcome  these concerns.

Attention to this materialist basis of environmental concern has long been central in poorer and less industrialized societies, as well as some movements for environmental and climate justice. Yet it has  been far less prominent in analyses of environmental concern in Europe, North America, and  Oceania. Moreover, attention to practices has often been overshadowed by both individual and structural approaches. This workshop aims to generate new insights into the possibilities for environmental action and change by exploring these everyday material practices, reflecting the social,  economic, and ecological ambivalences of greening everyday life.

Analyzing everyday practices invites vital questions about

– concepts of property and ownership;
– the relevance and meaning of citizenship;
– the character and scope of public and private spheres;
– the role of new movements;
– diverse notions of governance;
– popular understandings of freedom; 
– and understandings of what counts as “the environment” and “environmentalism” in postindustrial societies.

We anticipate that such questions will be the focal point of papers and workshop discussion. Proposals are invited from scholars in the environmental humanities and interpretive social sciences.  Papers should centrally address one or more of the three areas (land, transport, or household practices), in order to reimagine or illuminate some aspect of the conceptual framework necessary to foster more sustainable practices.

Invited participants will be required to submit their completed paper (approximately 6000 words),  in English, by 23 May 2014. These will be circulated to all participants in advance of the workshop.  The Rachel Carson Center will cover the travel cost and accommodation expenses for invited participants. It is expected that papers will then be revised with the goal of publishing an edited book.

To answer this call for proposals, send a CV and a proposal of 300–400 words, including a title, to the conference conveners by 15 July 2013. For further questions, please contact either of the event conveners:

Conveners’ Contact Details
Jens Kersten  John Meyer
LMU Munich Humboldt State University
Rachel Carson Center Rachel Carson Center
jens.kersten@jura.uni-muenchen.de john.meyer@humboldt.edu

Contact the organizers, John Meyer (john.meyer@humboldt.edu) or Jens Kersten (jens.kersten@jura.uni-muenchen.de) with questions or ideas well in advance of the deadline.

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