Making sense by democracy, non-violence, and conviviality

A Summer School on Degrowth and Environmental Justice

June 24th – July 6th July 2018

Barcelona (Spain)/Cerbère (France)


The world we see today around us seems increasingly reactionary and conservative. The rise of right wing parties across the globe disfavours the spaces for civil society’s proposal for radical change. Basic human rights are curtailed as violence, racism and xenophobia emerge under different forms. Defenders of livelihoods, land and environments, culture and traditions face violent repercussions both in the South and in the North.

Yet we also observe the strengthening of Degrowth as intellectual and practical attempt to re-politicize the debate on the much-needed socio-ecological transformation. Simplicity, conviviality and sharing are principles in multiple initiatives that, in their diversity, converge in seeking just environments. More and more allies from eco-feminist, anti-capitalist and other social movements help us engage in mutual learning. The scientific literature on Degrowth keeps expanding.

As we advance towards a vision of societies living in just environments, within their ecological means and distribute resources more equally through new forms of democratic institutions, we cannot obviate the alarming backdrop. The fifth edition of the Summer School on Degrowth and Environmental Justice responds to this burning challenge by disseminating cutting-edge research on degrowth and environmental justice focused on:

  • How can communities that centre on sustaining life in non-violent, democratic, autonomous and convivial ways flourish under the hegemony of imposing powers that strive for economic growth?
  • How to articulate stable collaborations between activists and researchers for mutual learning on radical socio-ecological transformations?

The school will focus on three primary aspects- the challenges, the proposals and the processes. Lectures and workshops will help in theorizing the challenges, understanding grassroots environmental justice activism and the politics of degrowth will be the entry point into the proposals and working in small groups with more collaboration and understanding academic-activist engagement for creating a better community will help in discovering the processes.

You can find the tentative program here.


Course structure and description

The first week of the course will take place at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona), where the theoretical foundations of environmental justice and degrowth will be laid out. This will be followed by going deeper into particular pressing problems and potential solutions of our times along with visiting certain  exemplary projects and initiatives based on the principles of degrowth and relevant for environmental justice. In particular, one day is dedicated to the visit to Can Masdéu, an occupied peri-urban, semi-rural, intentional community and social center on the outskirts of Barcelona, dedicated to practicing social and environmental sustainability.

The second week of the course will take place in Cerbère, in association with Can Decreix, a project of Research & Degrowth dedicated to put degrowth into practice in everyday life and habits. In this small village, the course gets deeper into degrowth, discussing topics like ecofeminism, care and technology.

This summer school will propose alternatives to the standard teaching methods, by working in small groups and using methodologies that enhance the collective wisdom through knowledge sharing, and visits to meaningful places. While morning sessions will be dedicated to standard academic lectures followed by discussion, all afternoons will be devoted to participative workshops.

In the end of the summer school participants are expected to present a group assignment covering the material taught and discussed over the course.