Protecting the Environment the Natural Way: Ethical Consumption and Commodity Fetishism
ABSTRACT One of the ways that conservation and capitalism intersect is in ethical consumption, the shaping of purchasing decisions by an evaluation of the moral attributes of objects on offer. It is increasingly important as a way that people think that they can affect the world around them, including protecting the natural environment. This paper describes commodity fetishism in ethical consumption, and the degree to which this fetishism makes it difficult for ethical consumers to be effective both in their evaluation of objects on offer and in influencing the world around them. It looks at three forms of fetishism in ethical consumption: fetishism of objects, fetishism of the purchase and consumption of objects, fetishism of nature.
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ABSTRACT: Green consumption attempts to reduce capitalism's environmental impacts by influencing consumer behaviour. It is based on the premise that consumers can be provided with information about the environmental conditions of production through ‘eco’ labels and brands, enabling them to make choices about their consumptive patterns. In response to the growth in green consumerism, there has been a flourishing theoretical and empirical body of work in a wide range of social science disciplines critiquing green consumption from a broadly Marxian perspective and raising questions about capitalism's environmental limits. In this paper, I explore how recent scholarship has advanced Marxian and Green Marxian theory and consider its implications for green consumerism. I focus on the following three arguments: (i) that capitalism's emphasis on profit and a relentless pursuit of economic growth tends to create a ‘metabolic rift’ so that people are increasingly separated, spatially and socially, from the ecosystems that support them; (ii) whilst green consumerism plays up the ability of individual consumers to influence production, power tends to lie with large producers and retailers; and (iii) whilst in principle green consumption empowers consumers by providing with them greater information about the conditions of production, it tends to obscure more fundamental problems such as the intensity of resource consumption.Geography Compass 07/2014; 8(7). DOI:10.1111/gec3.12142
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ABSTRACT: This introduction situates Mexico in the research on conservation and society, illustrating some nuances and characteristics of the Mexican model of biodiversity conservation in relation to neoliberal economic development and state formation. The paper critiques the way neoliberalism has become a common framework to understand conservation’s social practices. Drawing on the ethnographies collected in this special section, the paper considers the importance of state formation and disorganised neoliberalism as intertwined phenomena that explain conservation outcomes. This approach lends itself to the papers’ ethnographic descriptions that demonstrate a particular Mexican form of conservation that sits alongside a globalised biodiversity conservation apparatus. The introduction presents some additional analytical interpretations: 1) conservation strategies rooted in profit-driven models are precarious; 2) empirical cases show the expansion of both state structures and capitalist markets via conservation; and 3) non-capitalist approaches to conservation merit greater consideration.04/2014; 12(2):111-119. DOI:10.4103/0972-4923.138407
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ABSTRACT: In this paper I address the “politics of aesthetics” in volunteer tourism. By “aesthetics,” I mean two things. First, I adopt Jacques Ranciere’s notion of aesthetics as the structured way human sense is organized. I argue that volunteer tourism perpetuates an aesthetic structure that systematically depoliticizes the global economic inequality on which the experience is based. Second, drawing on recent scholarship in critical tourism studies as well as 16 months of ethnographic research in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I illustrate how volunteer tourists aestheticize the host community members’ poverty as authentic and cultural. This reframing contributes to the legitimization of volunteer tourism as a celebrated cultural practice that perpetuates the aestheticization rather than the politicization of poverty in the encounter.Annals of Tourism Research 10/2013; 43:150–169. DOI:10.1016/j.annals.2013.05.002 · 3.26 Impact Factor