Conference 2016 announcement & pre-call for participation

Aims and Objectives

The Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI) is organizing its Second International Conference on June 15–17, 2016 at the University of Maine located in Orono, Maine, USA. The conference theme is “Transitions Beyond the Consumer Society” and is intended to provide a space for:

  • The continued development of a network for the interdisciplinary and international exchange of ideas, research, and best practices related to sustainable consumption practice and policy.

  • The presentation of innovative research and applied projects which improve our understanding of consumerist lifestyles and/or provide original insights into processes of societal transitions in the context of ecological limits, unequal distribution, and economic globalization.

  • The generation of collective insights into key strategies, policies, and institutions designed to foster alternative means to pursue individual and societal well-being.

We invite diverse participation?including theoretical and applied contributions from representatives in academia, industry, government, and civil society organizations. Interdisciplinary perspectives and the work of emerging young scholars and practitioners are especially encouraged. SCORAI will establish a prize for the best paper by a young scholar or practitioner with details to follow.

Work to be considered might address, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • Visions of societies where the economy and culture are not principally built on mass consumption: sustainable lifestyles, steady state economies, degrowth, systemic change, new economies (sharing, solidarity, local, grassroots), sustainable business/production, alternative financial systems, the commons, equity of wealth and income, sufficiency, sustainable cities, well-being, and post-capitalist/alternative futures.
  • Insights into the obstacles to a transition beyond consumerist societies: dominant consumer culture, laissez-faire market capitalism, institutional lock-in and path dependency, prevalent value systems, dominant power relations, peer/social pressure, materialism and focus on economic growth, income and wealth inequality, class and gender inequalities.
  • Strategies for successful transitions: leverage points for systemic change, government policies, new business practices, partnerships, multi-stakeholder collaborations, grassroots innovations and bounded socio-technical experiments, design for sustainability/roles for designers, law as agent of change, communication and framing, teaching sustainable consumption, and methodologies for measuring progress/indicators.
  • Theories of social change: socio-technical transitions, social movement theories, theories of cultural change, social learning theories, communication (including mass and social media), scenarios, visioning and backcasting.
  • Thematic domains of consumption including agribusiness and food, transportation, building and housing, energy, the energy transition, and climate change, leisure and vacation, households, cities and urbanism, and others.

Instructions for Submissions

We invite the submission of proposals for academic and dialogue sessions, papers, and posters. Session proposals should include an abstract (maximum 250 words) and a list of prospective participants and be e-mailed to conference co-chairs Philip Vergragt ( and Cindy Isenhour ( by August 15, 2015. From August 15, the conference website will be open for paper and poster submissions; abstracts for papers and posters (maximum 250 words) should be submitted online at the conference website ( by September 30, 2015. Additional information about the conference, timetable, registration instructions and fees, and accommodations will soon be available on the SCORAI and conference websites.

Important Dates


End of May Conference announcement and pre-call for participation

August 15 Official call for participation and opening of conference website

August 15 Session abstracts and list of presenters due via email to co-chairs

September 7 Notification of acceptance of session abstracts

September 30 Deadline for submission of paper and poster abstracts

November 15 Notification of acceptance of papers and posters


January 15 Publication of draft conference program and opening of registration

March 15 Early-bird registration closes

May 1 Full paper submission deadline

June 15–17 Second International SCORAI Conference

About the Sustainable Consumption Action and Research Initiative (SCORAI):

Established in 2008, SCORAI is a knowledge network of professionals working at the interface of material consumption, human well-being, and technological and cultural change. We aim to provide a forum for scholars and practitioners striving to understand the drivers of the consumerist economy in affluent technological societies; to formulate and analyze options for post-consumerist lifestyles, social institutions, and economic systems; and to provide the knowledge for emergent grassroots innovations, social movements, and public policies. Since its first highly successful international conference hosted at Clark University in 2013, SCORAI has evolved into a network of more than 700 affiliates. Recent activities include co-sponsorship (with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the City of Eugene, Oregon, USA) of a workshop on sustainable consumption and cities in October 2014 and a colloquium series on consumption and social change in collaboration with the Tellus Institute. SCORAI also supports collaborating networks in Europe, China, and Israel

SCORAI 2016 Conference Organizing Committee

Cindy Isenhour (University of Maine), Conference Co-chair and Local Coordinator

Philip Vergragt (Clark University, Tellus Institute, and SCORAI Board), Conference Co-chair

Anders Hayden (Dalhousie University)

Ahmad Mahdavi (University of Tehran)

Caroline Noblet (University of Maine), Local Organizer

Rachael Shwom (Rutgers University)

Esther Zipori (New Jersey Institute of Technology)