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School of Environment, Education and Development

Two Geography students on field trip
BA Geography with International Study
Combine a degree from one of the world's top ten schools for geography with a year abroad.

BA Geography with International Study

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Global South

Unit code GEOG21402
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Geography
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

Sustainability is one of the most challenging and important issues of our time. Sustainable Consumption and Production is now one of the key goals identified in the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) is a challenge as how we use and consume resources across societies – for example how water-energy-food is provisioned and used within homes and cities - shapes both economic growth and the depletion of natural resources.  SCP is also linked to disparities and inequalities of wellbeing, social justice, and gender. Countries in the Global South face specific challenges in addressing SCP. These challenges are often linked to the specific histories of development (e.g., legacies of colonialism, modernity), and the unevenness of economic, political and infrastructural development. To understand and critique SCP we need to engage with historical geographies, everyday geographies, and political ecology perspectives to reflect on the ways in which historical legacies, everyday lives, and resource systems influence the dynamics of SCP. We also need to reflect on the dynamics between, and learning from across, the Global North and South. This module will explore these issues using the substantive topics of water, energy, food, shopping and how they are expressed in places like China, India, Brazil etc. This module will facilitate students to reflect from the academic literature on SCP across to the relevant international policy debates.   

Aims

·        A general introduction to the field of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) with an emphasis on the “Global South” drawing on a wide range of human geographical and interdisciplinary literatures– from everyday geographies through to political ecology

·        To provide opportunities to link theoretical debates with real life examples/policy problems

·        To encourage critical reflections on the ways in which we can ‘intervene’ with SCP, and the role of different actors that shape this 

Learning outcomes

·        A general introduction to the field of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) with an emphasis on the “Global South” drawing on a wide range of human geographical and interdisciplinary literatures– from everyday geographies through to political ecology

·        To provide opportunities to link theoretical debates with real life examples/policy problems

·        To encourage critical reflections on the ways in which we can ‘intervene’ with SCP, and the role of different actors that shape this 

Syllabus

LECTURE 1 Introducing and Framing SCP: Recent Theoretical and Policy Perspectives on SCP

LECTURE 2 Theorising Governance of SCP: histories and critiques of the governance of SCP, theoretical frameworks

LECTURE 3 Global Histories of Consumption and Production

LECTURE 4 Beyond Sustainable Cities? The future of the city in reshaping sustainable production and consumption (Guest Lecturer: Dr Mike Hodson – Sustainable Consumption Institute)

LECTURE 5 WASH: Everyday landscapes of Water, Hygiene and Sanitation

LECTURE 6  Food: Growing, Eating, Cooking   (Guest Lecture: Jessica Paddock – Sustainable Consumption Institute)

STUDY WEEK

LECTURE 7 Water Mega-Infrastructures: Building Dams, Building Nations

LECTURE 8 Energy: Energy Efficiency, Infrastructures and Everyday Life

STUDY WEEK

LETCURE 9 Critiquing Consumption and the Consumer: ethical consumption, introduction to the circular economy

LECTURE 10 Conclusions: From the everyday to the infrastructural - can consumption and production be sustainable? Summary and Exam preparation.

 

Teaching and learning methods

SCP in the Global South will be delivered through a combination of lectures (two hours) and seminars (one hour) and include discussion, debates, case studies, films, etc. You will be required to undertake work in peer study groups and individually outside of the lectures. Course materials will be supplied via Blackboard. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Across the course it is intended that students will develop the following skills:

  • Awareness of the issues facing societies in the Global South
  • Critical thinking and reflection
  • Self awareness, motivation, responsibility, self-directed learning
  • An ability to relate theoretical arguments with empirical research and real-life examples
  • Information handling skills, evaluation and analysis of different kinds of evidence
  • An ability to design and evaluate policy solutions for real-world issues

Assessment methods

Coursework: Groupwork Policy Brief (50%); Exam (50%). 

Recommended reading

This course encourages you to think and read in an interdisciplinary way and to use ideas, materials and methods from a wide variety of disciplines. This list is not definitive and will evolve across the course. There are also a wide variety of other media, websites and policy documents you should engage with e.g., United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Brickell, K. & Yeoh, B. S. A. 2014. Geographies of domestic life: 'Householding' in transition in East and Southeast Asia. Geoforum, 51, 259-261.

Chang, I.-C. C. & Sheppard, E. 2013. China’s Eco-cities as Variegated Urban Sustainability: Dongtan Eco-city and Chongming Eco-island. Journal of Urban Technology, 20, 57-76.

Davis, D. 2005. Urban consumer culture. The China Quarterly, 183, 692-709.

Dombroski, K. 2015. Pursuing a postdevelopment project of hygiene and sanitation. Asia Pacific Viewpoint 56, 321-334.

Hodson, M., and Marvin, S., (eds) (2014) After Sustainable Cities? Routledge: London

Hosagrahar, J. 2011. Landscapes of water in Delhi: Negotiating global norms and local cultures. In: SORENSEN, A. & OKARTA, J. (eds.) Megacities: Negotiating global norms and local cultures. Springer.

Hubacek, K., Guan, D., Barrett, J. & Wiedmann, T. 2009. Environmental implications of urbanization and lifestyle change in China: Ecological and Water Footprints. Journal of Cleaner Production, 17, 1241-1248.

Iossifova, D. 2015a. Borderland urbanism: seeing between enclaves. Urban Geography, 36, 90-108.

Jayne, M. & Leung, H. H. 2014. Embodying Chinese urbanism: towards a research agenda. Area, 46, 256-267.

Jewitt, S. 2011. Geographies of shit: Spatial and temporal variations in attitudes towards human waste. Progress in Human Geography, 35, 608-626.

Mansverlt, J.,2005. Geographies of Consumption. London: Sage.

Menga, F. 2015. Building a nation through a dam: the case of Rogun in Tajikistan. Nationalities

Papers, 43(3), 479-494.

Podoshen, J. S., Li, L. & Zhang, J. 2010. Materialism and conspicuous consumption in China: A cross-cultural examination. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 35, 17-25.

Proctor-Zu, J. 2006. Sites of transformation: The body and ruins in Zhang Yang's Shower In: MARTIN, F. & HEINRICH, L. (eds.) Embodied modernities: corporeality, representation and Chinese cultures. Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press.

Rigg, J. (2007) An everyday geography of the Global South. UK: Routledge, UK.

Smits, M. 2015. Southeast Asian energy transitions: Between modernity and sustainability., UK, Ashgate.

Trentmann, F. (Ed.)(2012) The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption. Oxford: Oxford

University Press

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Alison Browne Unit coordinator

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