The Politics and Pleasures of Consuming Differently by Kate Soper

This is one for those of you concerned with the environment. There is no doubt we are trashing our planet and that current levels of consumption are unsustainable. Alarm over the contribution of affluent lifestyles to global warming and environmental destruction is combining with growing disquiet over the damage affluence does to consumers themselves. Consumerism is increasingly thought to be harmful to health and happiness.

The search for alternative conceptions of the good life has moved from the margins to the centre of contemporary debate. This collection, edited by Kate Soper (, offers a vital intervention in the context of this anxiety, disenchantment and openness to other ways of living. It engages with these developments as they are being reflected in culture and shaping experience in Britain, Europe and the United States. Its ‘alternative hedonist’ perspective informs an analysis that covers representations in film, TV and writing; new initiatives in the production and marketing of food; the ethics and politics of consumer choice; and philosophical and cultural inquiry into the nature of happiness and desire. Original, forcefully written and timely, it points towards a new inter-disciplinary understanding of how the consumer society and its future will be theorised, researched and taught in higher education and beyond. A really chunky and challenging read.

For a quick introduction to these themes listen to the ‘Philosophy Bites’ podcast with Professor Kate Soper at

This is entitled ‘Alternative Hedonism’.

240 pages in Palgrave MacMillan

ISBN 978-0230537286

Professor Kate Soper

Scroll to Top