LSE IQ Live: can we afford our consumer society?

Hosted by ESRC Festival of Social Science and LSE IQ

Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building


Dr Rebecca Elliott

Dr Rebecca Elliott

Professor Ian Gough

Professor Ian Gough

Dr Rodolfo Leyva

Dr Rodolfo Leyva

Join us for a live recording of the award-winning monthly podcast LSE IQ, in which social scientists answer intelligent questions about economics, politics or society. This special event will showcase LSE research on current global challenges and how we can tackle them as part of a series of activities leading up to LSE's annual Festival in February 2019.

Economic growth has helped millions out of poverty. The jobs it creates mean rising incomes and consumers who buy more. This drives further growth and higher living standards, including better health and education. Yet WWF, the World Wildlife Fund, has recently warned that exploding human consumption is the driving force behind unprecedented planetary change, through increased demand for energy, land and water.

Plastics and microplastics are filling our oceans and rivers and entering the foodchain. The production of goods and services for household use is the most important cause of greenhouse gas emissions. The textile industry is responsible for depleting and polluting water resources and committing human rights abuses against its workers. It is also a major source of greenhouse gases, and three fifths of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made.

For this episode of LSE IQ, recorded in front of a live audience, we’ll ask, ‘Can we afford our consumer society?’

Rebecca Elliott (@rebsFE) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, joining LSE in 2016 after receiving her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests span economic sociology, political sociology, environmental sociology, and knowledge production and science studies. She is particularly interested in how the environmental impacts of climate change are confronted as economic problems. Her current book project is a multi-method study of the economic and political governance of climate change. 

Ian Gough is a Visiting Professor in LSE's Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) and an Associate at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (GRI). Until summer 2009 he was Professor of Social Policy at the University of Bath, where he is now Professor Emeritus.

Rodolfo Leyva is an LSE Fellow in the Department of Media and Communications, LSE. He has a PhD in Political Sociology from the King’s College London School of Education, Communication and Society. Prior to his current appointment, he was a lecturer at several universities and have led various quantitative and qualitative research methods, sociology, and media modules. He has also worked as a post-doctoral research assistant on various mixed-methods communications, psychology, and education studies.

Twitter Hashtags for this event: #LSEIQ #ESRCFestival

This event forms part of the “New World (Dis)Orders” series, held in the run up to the LSE Festival, a week-long series of events taking place from 25 February to 2 March 2019, free to attend and open to all, exploring how social science can tackle global issues. How did we get here? What are the challenges? And, importantly, how can we address them? Full programme available online from January 2019.

The 16th annual ESRC Festival of Social Science takes place from 3—10 November 2018 with over 300 free events nationwide. Run by the Economic and Social Research Council, the festival provides an opportunity for the public to meet some of the country’s leading social scientists to discover, discuss and debate how research affects their lives. With a range of creative and engaging events going on across the UK, there’s something for everyone including businesses, charities, schools and government agencies. 

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This event has been certified for CPD purposes by the CPD Certification Service. Self-Assessment Record forms will be made available for delegates wishing to record further learning and knowledge enhancement for Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPD) purposes. For delegates who wish to obtain a CPD Certificate of Attendance, it is the responsibility of delegates to register their details with a LSE steward at the end of the event and as of 1 September 2014 a certificate will be sent within 28 days of the date of the event attended by the CPD Certification Service.  If a delegate fails to register their details at the event, it will not prove possible to issue a certificate. (For queries relating to CPD Certificates of attendance after a request please phone 0208 840 4383 or email

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