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Accepted abstract at ESA

The abstract submitted by Nina Heidenstrøm and Dan Welch to the European Sociological Association (ESA) conference to be held in August/September at OsloMet has been accepted!

fireworks illustration

Roundtable on IMAGINE: Contested Futures of Sustainability

Session panel:  Nina Heidenstrøm (SIFO) and Dan Welch (University of Manchester. Additional panellists TBC.

The Roundtable will introduce the recently inaugurated research project IMAGINE: Contested Futures of Sustainability (PI: Nina Heidenstrøm, SIFO), the conceptual foundations of the project and the project’s relevance to the study of consumption. The project resonates strongly with conference theme of “consumption, justice and futures [and] what it means to live and consume well in future societies”. IMAGINE is an interdisciplinary research project (humanities, social sciences, design and arts) that investigates the power of cultural imaginaries of sustainability to influence societal change, and guide and legitimize actions taken by different societal actors to establish possible futures. IMAGINE looks specifically at imaginaries tied to three currently unsustainable areas of consumption: food, clothes and mobility, and their associated practices. The Roundtable will be initiated with two presentations (10-15 minutes), followed by a chaired discussion of the issues, topics and concepts introduced. The first presentation (Heidenstrøm) will introduce the IMAGINE research programme, and its ambitions: to advance the theoretical and methodological approaches towards the scientific study of imaginaries; to convey imaginaries by making them tangible through visual, tactile and audial spaces; and to confront three types of actors—consumers, policy influencers and businesses with imaginaries of sustainability. IMAGINE’s interdisciplinary perspective mixing ethnography, philosophy, anthropology and sociology with design and art will provoke novel ways of seeing and understanding contemporary culture by creating fictional visions of alternative futures. The second presentation (Welch) will discuss the emerging conceptual framework from this interdisciplinary collaboration, drawing on results the project’s first Conceptual Workshop. The Conceptual Workshop develops theoretical dialogue between the three key disciplinary-theoretical foundations of the IMAGINE. Firstly, Ricoeur’s theory of cultural imagination, and the “utopian mode”. Secondly, sociological theories of practice, and their relation to understanding “social futures”. And thirdly, future-oriented design studies, such as speculative design and design fiction.