In Dagens Nyheter Kultur 20/12 2018 I write about the close to bizarre normalization of our christmas gift frenzy. Time to negotiate with our families, relatives and friends about a reformulation of how this tradition could be practiced in a sustainable way.
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At this conference the 24’th of October, in Linköping, Sweden, I spoke to a broad audience ranging from the Swedish Ministry of Agriculture and University deans and professors, to farmers from all over Sweden, about the neoprene revolution and how it has influenced the way consumers in an increasing way live and breath sustainability. I also talked about the “wild turn” in food consumption and how it has created a coalescence between kitchen and nature/garden.
At Livsmedelsforum 2017 the 19’th of October in Malmö, I talked about the “Art of selling sustainable food” but more from a communication than a retail perspective. I first accounted for the latest quantitative research insights (from other researchers) regarding this topic and then talked about the main life theme (in my own research) of our time–namely what I call the neogreen revolution (which I wrote a report about for Jordbruksverket in 2012)–and how the food trends manifest this in such illustrative ways. Since 2005 I have been interested in the increased consumer interest in food, eating, and cooking–the “foodies”–and since 2012 I have engaged in more systematic research about (or among!) them. My focus has been on how the content of what gives status changes over time and who has the illocutionary and interpretive precedence to state what is “right”, “appropriate” and “what we should spend money on” in the foodie culture. Ranking institutes, restaurants, food critics and large media production companies such as Netflix, with their by now (among foodies) iconic “Chef’s Table” has immense power here. And what the chefs portrayed in these various scapes are bringing forth, inspires micro trends, but also more lasting value shifts, on the global foodie market. In an upcoming Routledge anthology on Taste I and my PhD candidate Marcus Klasson delve into these Chef’s Table themes and from this emerges postmodern heroes with renaissance visions to save the world. The art of selling sustainable food is–except from BEING sustainable–very much about understanding this symbolic world of foodies’ influencers and frame one’s communication according to its meanings.
At the Swedish Mecka of “politics-meets-PR-meets-rosé wine-mingeling” forum, namely Almedalen, I will this year be part of two panels. The first one is about sustainability at SPPs event Tuesday the 30’Th of June with Sarah McPhee (CEO, SPP), Charlotte Petri Gornitzka (President, SIDA), Casten Almqvist (VD, TV4-Group), Eva Hamilton (Board Pro) and Scandinavia’s swaggiest moderator Henrik Schyffert (critical comedian, producer, TV personality etc). So that’s got to be simultaneously interesting, serious and fun which is a great combination. My introduction will be about the 1) consumer movements as they are right now (political consumption; from boycott to buycott), 2) their critical dimensions (access/owning, market/state, temporary/permanent, anonymous/personal, climate urgency/climate skepticism, political/apolitical, neocommunity/individualism, flexibility/inconvenience) and 3) the challenges in consumer culture from policy makers’ point of view (increase symbolic and economic value).
The other event is car2go’s exciting panel on Wednesday the 1’st of July on about the future for urban transport and mobility. In the larger consumer cultural transformation towards immaterialism–or in other words from stuff (products) to experience (services)–what does the future bear in terms of sustainability and consumer engagement in relation to the collective change of preference in terms of ownership? Is it just a question of access vs owning? Or is it again more a question of what one sees as important to own? Namely; the story of accessing and sharing as symbol for being the New Citizen Consumer. The possibility for the consumer to mediate a compelling story about this, and thereby own the symbol of being a planet-conscious yet urban “accesser” rather than resource-wasting product owner, is one of the most critical dimensions in future consumer culture.