ICS Seminar Series 2019

Our next ICS Seminar

Date: Thursday, 22 August 2019
Time: 11.30am–1pm
Venue: EB.G.02, Parramatta South campus, Western Sydney University

Sustainable Materialism: Environmental Movements and the Politics of Everyday Life

Professor David Schlosberg (University of Sydney)

Discussant: Professor Gay Hawkins


A growing number of environmental groups focus on more sustainable practices in everyday life, from the development of new food systems, to community solar, to more sustainable fashion. No longer willing to take part in unsustainable practices and institutions, and not satisfied with either purely individualistic and consumer responses or standard political processes and movement tactics, many activists and groups are increasingly focusing on restructuring everyday practices of the circulation of the basic needs of everyday life. This work labels such action sustainable materialism, and examines the political and social motivations of activists and movement groups involved in this growing and expanding practice. The central argument is that these movements are motivated by four key factors: frustration with the lack of accomplishments on broader environmental policies, a desire for environmental and social justice, an active and material resistance to the power of traditional industries, and a form of sustainability that is attentive to the flow of materials through bodies, communities, economies, and environments. In addition to these motivations, these movements demonstrate such material action as political action, in contrast to existing critiques of new materialism as apolitical or post-political. Overall, sustainable materialism is explored as a set of movements with unique qualities, based in collective rather than individual action, a dedication to local and prefigurative politics, and a demand that sustainability be practiced in everyday life – starting with the materials and flows that provide food, power, clothing, and other basic needs.


David Schlosberg is Professor of Environmental Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations, Payne-Scott Professor, and Director of the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney. His main theoretical interests are in environmental and climate justice, climate adaptation and resilience, and environmental movements and the practices of everyday life – what he terms sustainable materialism. Professor Schlosberg’s more applied work includes public perceptions of adaptation and resilience, the health and social impacts of climate change, and responses to food insecurity. His previous authored, co-authored, or co-edited books include Defining Environmental Justice (Oxford 2007), The Climate-Challenged Society (Oxford 2013), and The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory (Oxford, 2016). Professor Schlosberg has been a visiting scholar at the London School of Economics, Australian National University, Princeton University, University of Washington, and UC Santa Cruz, among others.

Spring ICS Seminars

Date: Thursday, 22 August

Sustainable Materialism: Environmental Movements and the Politics of Everyday Life - David Schlosberg...Find out more.

Date: Thursday, 29 August

The Great Unsettling: A Briefing for the End of the World as We Knew It - Paul James...Find out more.

Date: Thursday, 5 September

Photorealism, Blockchains, Neural Nets, Algorithmic Governance: Ray Tracing Graphical Media - Liam Magee...Find out more.

Date: Thursday, 12 September

When David Cameron Met the People: the Performance of Power and Citizenship - Peter Lunt...Find out more.

Date: Thursday, 3 October

The Spectacle of Coral Reefs and the Mastery of Colonial Space - Ann Elias...Find out more.

Date: Thursday, 10 October

The Performance of Taste: Engaging with Unfamiliar Art Music - Simon Chambers...Find out more.

Date: Thursday, 17 October

Personal Logistics: Affect, Aesthetics, Apps - Susan Zieger...Find out more.

Date: Thursday, 24 October

Affect, Emotion and Transnational Connections - HDR Panel: Ha Hoang and Amrita Limbu...Find out more.

Date: Thursday, 31 October

Postmodern Cities and Spaces--Reflections and Trajectories 25 Years Later - Sophie Watson and Katherine Gibson...Find out more.

Date: Thursday, 7 November

On the Accumulation of Homeliness: Practices and Mobilities - HDR Panel: Kate Naidu and Alex Coleman...Find out more.

Past Seminars

Date: Thursday, 15 August

“Free Culture” and Mobile Phone Economies in the Pacific - Heather A. Horst...Find out more.

Date: Thursday, 8 August

Sexual Justice is Social Justice: Faith-Based Approaches to Human Sexuality - Sabitha Pillai-Friedman, Justin A. Sitron and Brent Satterly...Find out more.

Date: Thursday 7 March

Forum on the 'Uluru Statement from the Heart’: Are We Listening?...Find out more.

Date: Thursday 14 March

The Artful Excess of Waste: a River Installation - Margaret Sommerville...Find out more.

Date: Thursday 21 March

The Politics of Mediation: Subjectivity, Value and Power in the Digital Grid of Aadhaar - Tsvetelina Hristova...Find out more.

Date: Thursday 28 March

Extractivism, Community Responses and the Commons - Dorothy Kidd...Find out more.

Date: Thursday 4 April

The Beatification of the Clinic: Instituting New HIV Prevention Health Conducts in the Age of Biomedical Prevention - Kane Race...Find out more.

Date: Thursday 11 April

Inside Factories and Outside Heteronormativity: an Ethnographic Exploration of the Queerness of Chinese Rural Migrant lalas...Find out more.

Date: Thursday 9 May

Assembling the Capacity to Care: Caring-with Precarious Housing - Emma Power...Find out more.

Date: Thursday 16 May

Reconfiguring the Enterprise: Shifting Manufacturing Culture in Australia - Katherine Gibson, Stephen Healy and Joanne McNeill ...Find out more.

Date: Thursday 23 May

Doing Plastic Bottled Water Differently? The Role of Social Entrepreneurship in Delivering Community-Managed Infrastructures - Isaac Lynne ...Find out more.

Date: Thursday 30 May

Paul Virilio Goes to the Beach: An archaeology of Coastal Reclamations - Denis Byrne...Find out more.

Date: Thursday 6 June

Where ‘Art Meets Life’: Assessing the Impact of Dark Mofo, a New Mid- Winter Festival in Australia - Adrian Franklin ...Find out more.

Date: Thursday 13 June

Health Technologies, Lifecourses, and Ecologies: What Might an Ethics of Engagement Offer? - Teresa Swist...Find out more.

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