Professor Kate Soper

Professor Kate Soper is an academic philosopher.  She was educated at the universities of Oxford and Sussex. She has worked in the past as a freelance journalist and translator from Italian and French. She has published widely and has an international reputation as a social and cultural theorist.  A former member of the editorial collectives of Radical Philosophy and the New Left Review, she now writes a column for the US journal Capitalism, Nature, Socialism. In her most recent book, To Relish the Sublime: Culture and Self-Realisation in Postmodern Times (co-authored with Martin Ryle), she defends a conception of personal worth and self-fulfilment for its own sake.

Kate currently holds the position of Research Reader and Professor of Philosophy in the Institute for the Study of European Transformations (ISET), and has taught in the department of Humanities, Arts and Languages (HAL) at London Metropolitan University since 1987. Her main research interests are in the theory of needs and consumption; environmental philosophy and aesthetics of nature; feminist theory; cultural theory.

Most recently she has been lead researcher on a project (with Dr Lyn Thomas) on ‘Alternative Hedonism and the Theory and Politics of Consumption’ funded in the ESRC/AHRC ‘Cultures of Consumption’ programme. This reflects on the emergence of a more ambivalent attitude to affluent consumption on the part of some consumers themselves, and its possible role in ‘greening’ consumption and generating revised ideas about needs, pleasures and the ‘good life’ (for more details please visit: under ‘Research’).

Papers published or forthcoming from this research include:
‘Alternative Hedonism, Cultural Theory and the Role of Aesthetic Revisioning’ (Cultural Theory)
‘Re-thinking the “good life”: the citizenship dimension of consumer disaffection with consumerism’ (Journal of Consumer Culture)
‘Contextualising Needs in the Context of Consumer Politics’ (Journal of Consumer Policy)

A conference associated with the project (‘Countering Consumerism:  Religious and Secular Perspectives’) was held April 2006 at London Metropolitan University, and an edited selection of the proceedings is forthcoming from Palgrave, 2008.


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Counter-Consumerism and its Pleasures (ed. with Martin Ryle and Lyn Thomas)
(Palgrave, 2008) (forthcoming)
Citizenship and Consumption (ed. with Frank Trentmann) (Palgrave, 2007)
To Relish the Sublime?  Culture and Self-realisation in Postmodern Times(with Martin Ryle) (Verso, 2002)
What is Nature?  Culture, Politics and the Non-Human (Blackwell, 1995)

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