Heterotopian space and the utopics of ethical and green consumption

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In this article, we illustrate how Exarcheia, an Athenian neighbourhood that is renowned for its capacity for revolt and anti-capitalist ethos, provides a rich site for utopian praxis, particularly in relation to a range of green and ethical marketplace behaviours. Arguing that space and place are essential to questions of ethics, ecology, and politics, we explore Exarcheia as a heterotopian space that fosters critique and experimentation, generating new ways of thinking and doing green/ethical behaviours. Drawing on data from a two-year ethnography, our findings not only challenge individualised and de-contextualised notions of the consumer, but also expose moralistic and post-political assumptions that often go unnoticed in ethical and green consumer research. We point to the need for a counter-strand in the literature that reviews instances that we recognise as ethical or green consumerism not in terms of identity projects or given ideas of ethics but rather with reference to the particularity of the spatial contexts in which they occur and their political implications.

Keywords: ethical consumerism; green consumerism; heterotopia; post-politics; space/place

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2012.668922

Affiliations: Royal Holloway University of London, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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