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29th November, 2018

The Upcycling Movement: Pursuing Hedonistic Sustainability

London South Bank University

Event Details

29th November, 2018
12:00 - 13:00
LSBU Southwark Campus - 100-116 London Road, SE1 6LN

This seminar presentation will be given by Grace O’Rourke, Lecturer in the School of Business.

The planet cannot sustain current levels of resource depletion and waste production. Unsustainable consumption patterns have been identified as contributing to environmental degradation. Consumers do not consume ethically, partially because ethical products offer unattractive, anti-capitalist associations. If sustainable consumption is instead considered amongst the social and cultural functions by which consumers currently consume, there may be a more potent mechanism to encourage widespread sustainable consumption behaviours.

Hedonistic pleasure specifically, is often sought through consumption objects, and it is accepted that consumers do not just have a right, but also a duty to seek pleasure. This interpretive study used ethnographic methods to investigate the upcycling movement – a movement which sees individuals actively use disregarded materials to create objects of higher quality or value. Upcycling is found to exist as a form of ‘hedonistic sustainability’, through which upcyclists enjoy upcycling quirky projects.

Identified hedonistic elements of upcycling practices include for example, emotional states brought about by the upcycling process, and fantasies about projects themselves. From a sustainable consumption perspective, this study shows that hedonistic pleasure gained through consumption, can aid with the repositioning of sustainability as symbolically attractive to consumers.

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