The theme of the 2017 annual conference of the Westermarck society is excess and overflows. This theme provides an alternative viewpoint to the contemporary ways of living compared both with economic analysis, which takes the scarcity of resources as a starting point, and to the common way of considering societal problems through the framework of deprivation.

The focus on the conference is on the excesses fundamentally linked to our lifestyle: there is too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the temperature of the Earth is rising. The flows of migrants seem to be out of control in Europe. The financialised world is characterised by the excessive accumulation of capital. The number of the unemployed is high. The property prices in urban centres are extreme. Homes are overflowing with things. At the same time, masses of waste are produced. In the western world, health authorities are concerned about obesity. Our diets contain excessive amounts of salt, sugar and fat.

The annual conference of the Westermarck Society 2017 considers the excesses of our society from a sociological point of view. What kind of boundary work is performed in relation to quantity? What is the role of different techniques of measurement when defining the right amount? How do we co-exist with excess? These perspectives offer new intriguing ways to examine topical societal issues.

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