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The potential for sustainable production and consumption in a technological Society

The potential for sustainable production and consumption in a technological Society

Coles, Anne-Marie ORCID: 0000-0002-0383-9253 (2016) The potential for sustainable production and consumption in a technological Society. In: Genus, Audley, (ed.) Sustainable Consumption - Design Innovation and Practice. The Anthropocene: Politik—Economics—Sciety—Science (3). Springer International Publishing, UK, pp. 119-134. ISBN 978-3-319-29663-0 (doi:

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The French philosopher Jacques Ellul articulated the concept of the technological society in 1954 to describe the deeply interwoven relationship between social, cultural, economic, political and technical factors that exists in mature industrial societies. Some commentators have seen a continuing role for this concept pertinent to understanding the broad social dynamics of technological change. This chapter draws on current commentary to investigate the implications for change in existing processes of production and consumption through sustainable innovation. It reviews current thinking in the social studies of technology to identify the ways in which discourses of sustainable innovation might not transform socio-technical systems in the manner conceived by proponents. It identifies how technical characteristics relating to sustainable performance of a particular artefact could fail to transfer from artefact to system or from innovation to widespread adoption and use. In conclusion, it is suggested that calls for sustainable innovation represent part of the ‘business as usual’ operations of a technological society.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Boundary spanning – Discourse – Jacques Ellul – Social change – Sustainable innovation – Technological change – Technological society
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Systems Management & Strategy
Faculty of Business > Institute of Political Economy, Governance, Finance and Accountability (IPEGFA) > Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre (GPERC)
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2021 16:33
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: GREAT a
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: GREAT 2
Selected for REF2021: REF 2

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