Consuming Sustainability

Critical Social Analyses of Ecological Change

Edited by Debra Davidson and Kierstin Hatt  

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How do our consumption decisions affect ecosystems? Can we rely on governments to maintain environmental wellbeing? Do rural peoples “see” the environment differently from urban residents? Is sustainability possible? We are confronted with personal and political decisions every day that affect the environment, yet, we often do not know how to assess, much less understand, our individual role in them. In Consuming Sustainability, the authors examine several contemporary environmental controversies in Canada to illustrate how a critical perspective can aid in understanding the complex social, economic and political issues that characterize our relationship to the environment, and of the potential for change within them. Key concepts in environmental social science are introduced and used to clarify environmental and ecological controversies and to address broader questions regarding structure, human agency, activism and the potential for sustainability in Canada and the world.

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  • Power and Sustainability (Kierstin C. Hatt and Debra J. Davidson)
  • Clothes Encounters: Consumption, Culture, Ecology and Economy (Ineke C. Lock and Satoshi Ikeda)
  • Water: The Struggle to Decommodify a Human Right (Stephen Speake and Mike Gismondi)
  • You Are What You Eat (Ella Haley, Kierstin C. Hatt and Richard Tunstall)
  • The Air up There (Debra J. Davidson and Josh Evans)
  • Space, the Canadian Frontier? Landscape and Canadian Identities (Jeff Masuda and Jeji Varghese)
  • Economy, Work, and the Environment in Canada (Satoshi Ikeda and Mike Gismondi)
  • Are We Becoming Hazardous Material? (Ella Haley and Richard Tunstall)
  • Entropic Futures (Mike Gismondi and Debra J. Davidson)
  • Towards a Sustainable Future (Debra J. Davidson and Kierstin C. Hatt)
  • Glossary
  • References


  • Debra Davidson

    University of Alberta

    Debra J. Davidson is assistant professor of environmental sociology, with a joint appointment between the Department of Rural Economy and the Department of Renewable Resources, at the University of Alberta.

  • Kierstin Hatt

    University of Alberta

    Kierstin Hatt is Associate Professor of Sociology at Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta. She received a MA, International Development Studies, from Saint Mary’s University and a PhD in Sociology from McGill University in 2001.

    Her teaching interests include social anthropology, sociology of global development, sex, gender and society, and environmental sociology. Kierstin’s research interests are in multi/inter/trans-disciplinary, development, gender and environment, with a strong interest in midwifery. Her most recent research was on the Costa Rican banana industry. This examined the Costa Rican banana industry as a socio-cultural, political-economic, and environmental system that operates at the local, national and international levels.

    Kierstin is editor, with Debra Davidson, of Consuming Sustainability: Critical Social Analyses of Ecological Change. She has also written on the workers and environmental degradation in Costa Rican banana industry.

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