Why degrowth conference?
The story of the conference in brief
Degrowth researchers and practitioners gathering at this conference focus on issues related to the breaching of environmental limits of civilizational self-reproduction and the failure of economic infrastructures to provide a dignified existence for whole communities and societies. They identify the desire for growth couched in the idioms of economism as the root of economic, social and environmental crises they experience and professionally address. In their particular settings they strive to articulate alternatives to twin standard imperatives of growth and development, which are conventionally presented as self-evident and unquestionable paths for the future regardless of the cost. Even in the relative global comfort of Europe those geographically closest to the conference location are regularly faced with destructive powers of austerity economies, climate catastrophes and divided societies. By presenting and discussing their work through a conference platform they can weave their particular insights into broadly viable alternative visions of the future.
This work does not take place in the comfort of an armchair or controlled environment of a laboratory. It is always rubbing shoulders with the critiques of contemporary and historic capitalism, which has time and again proved to be a wonderfully intricate object to deconstruct not in the least for being closely intertwined with so many facets of individuals’ and communities daily existence, as well as the global social structure. Politically, odds are already stacked against the well-intended politically disinterested global subject that aims to act in the interest of humanity as a whole. There are real political forces striving to transform their market agenda into common sense and justify the implementation of economic market-based solutions to breach of environmental constrictions.
Linking the dots
When practitioners and researchers formulate their disconnected struggles and discoveries into viable alternatives in both research and practice, they do so in a crisis destabilised world whose conception of itself incorporates roots of the crisis as self-evident morsels of common sense. A conference is then more than an aetherial exchange of world-models, it is an alliance incubator and political generator of modified common sense that can elaborate an emergent political and economic order. The gathering represents a realignment of separate but linked entities that is emancipatory and utopian, whilst not materially impoverished nor culturally grey.
The flow of the conference
Throughout five days the conference will cover analysis of the specific drivers of manifestations of the triple crisis in different regions and intellectual domains; review of different strategies proposed for modifying our existential conditions and replacing the harmful drivers; and foster alliances between different researchers and practitioners through novel institutions and movements. The day’s work will consist of both scientific presentations and discussions, and of complementary practitioner presentations and instructions. All will be linked to keynote lectures and more accessible panel discussions delivered by the veterans of the movement and research agenda, and contemporary and future advocates of the degrowth pathway. Overall, the participants at the conference will work together on turning un-common into common sense, imagining societies fit for the 22nd century and converging on a critical mass for degrowth transition.