PhD Candidate, Amanda Winter Received Graduate Scholar Award

December 4, 2013

Amanda Winter, 2nd year PhD candidate received a Graduate Scholar Award at the Spaces and Flows’ Fourth International Conference on Urban and ExtraUrban Studies held at the University of Amsterdam.

Bill Cope, conference director, writes that “as a part of the conference, a small number of Graduate Scholar Awards are given to outstanding graduate students who have an active academic interest in the conference area. As a recipient of this award, Amanda performed a critical role in the conference by chairing parallel sessions, providing technical assistance in the sessions, participating in talking circles, and presenting her own research paper.”

Her research paper, titled the “Flows of Institutional Discourse(s): Why They Matter for Urban Environmental Sustainability” was presented alongside fellow scholars in a themed panel on Environmental Sustainability.

The abstract for the paper is the following:

“Sustainable cities” have been framed as the solution to the environmental effects of urbanization via sustainable development discourse; yet the links between consumer culture and environmental problems are largely missing from this dialogue. This article will highlight the complexity of challenging consumer culture in a neoliberal world and will discuss gaps in the current literature. This will show the interdisciplinary importance of urban environmental sustainability and how it is contested on multiple levels. While discussing different approaches to sustainability, I deliberately separate efficiency efforts like technological improvements and sustainable consumption from sustainable lifestyles. Accepting institutional change as a driver for sustainable lifestyles, discursive institutionalism is used to build a conceptual framework to trace this idea. Rather than employing quantitative environmental indicators, this perspective allows for a contextual understanding of urban and environmental issues and will critically engage and question even the most vanguard "sustainable cities." Focusing on the way urban citizens live in developed cities can illuminate solutions to these systemic problems.