Ethics begins and ends with the everyday, with ‘us’ as historical (habituated) beings, rather than separate rational, profit-maximising subjects. To have an ethical perspective is to belong to a territory that people create, and are created by, through endless habitual expression. Habituation a double-edged sword, i.e. it is the “general cause of our progress on the one hand, and our blindness on the other” (Ravaisson, 2008). Habituation dulls certain feelings and sentiments, while at the same time improving movement and sharpening perception. Feelings, sentiments, or tastes that are too often repeated tend to fade and disappear (like an alcoholic who loses all discrimination when drinking), whereas repeated movement and perception becomes more precise, more prompt, and easier (like perfected golf swing, or the wine connoisseur whose palate can distinguish subtle tastes and flavours).
This study will seek to explore the kind of habituation that sharpens our sense of responsibility towards human and animal others and the material world of which we are part. We will have to ask ourselves questions about our habits of production and consumption and investigate alternatives. Such study may involve employing qualitative research methodologies to study emerging practices: for example, the emerging interest repair-cultures, collaborative tool-sharing, cultural entrepreneurship, and alternative for-profit business models (such as Uber, TaskRabbit etc.).
For informal enquiries about this project, please contact: Professor Mollie Painter-Morland: [email protected]
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