Consumerism and the flourishing life in a climate emergency: some implications for schools

FORUM - ISSN 0963-8253
Volume 63 Number 2 (2021)

Consumerism and the flourishing life in a climate emergency: some implications for schools
John Quicke, pages 182-190
DOI: 10.3898/forum.2021.63.2.17

Abstract

The contribution of ‘consumerism’ to environmental degradation has been widely acknowledged. An anti-consumerist perspective appeals because it draws attention to the ideological underpinnings of people’s attitudes and day-to-day behaviour, but the tone of the debate often leads to polarisation rather than a productive engagement in dialogue. To persuade people to re-examine their values and beliefs requires a more nuanced approach, where the various bêtes noires identified by anti-consumerist rhetoric are subject to greater scrutiny. In this article I critically examine some of the key concepts of the anti-consumerist position and suggest a better starting point for discussion in a school context would be one which emphasised the significance of pleasure-seeking in the social life of students, and the part played in this by ‘consumption’. Some implications for schools are discussed, in particular the space allowed for ‘free’ association of students as an important aspect of the flourishing life in school in the here and now. I note the dangers of adopting a disapproving approach to informal and popular culture, and the possible link between this and resistance to the environmental message by disadvantaged groups.

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To cite this article
John Quicke (2021) Consumerism and the flourishing life in a climate emergency: some implications for schools, FORUM, 63(2), 182-190

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