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Switching on to Sufficiency: An agenda for Europe?
Proposed solutions for addressing pressing environmental and social issues such as climate change, unsustainable resource use and loss of biodiversity have largely centred on scientific and technological innovation. Since at least the 1970s, technological advancement has been heralded as the principal strategy to achieve a sustainable transition in housing, mobility, food and other areas of everyday life. But there is now an increasing recognition that the heretofore dominance of approaches that primarily focus on efficiency improvements are inadequate to deliver the necessary sustainable transformation in systems of production and consumption. Hence, there has been a recent turn in scholarship toward theoretical and methodological approaches broadly concerning the notion of ‘sufficiency’. While there are several definitions of sufficiency, many emerging perspectives argue that we need to limit what is produced and consumed in absolute terms, whilst also restructuring fundamental aspects of lifestyles and social practices. This requires accounting for both maximum limits to consumption, and challenging the collective conventions that underpin less sustainable practices.
This Dialogue session will advance social-scientific debate related to the notion of sufficiency. The session will comprise of four oral presentations that will generate both empirical and theoretical insights into ‘sufficiency’, and address fundamental questions such as what constitutes a good-life, how much is enough, and under what contextual conditions, and how should limited resources be distributed.