Degrowth Summer School 2014: Adapting to the times of crisis, an advanced course on socially sustainable degrowth
Amidst calls for restoring growth as a path out of the crisis, the intellectual and political degrowth movement exposes the impossibility to greening economic growth, or making it equitable. In theoretical terms degrowth implies a radical critique to the western notion of growth- and technology-led development as a single overarching path of organizing social and economic life. It implies revisiting the role of monetary and market-based transactions in society and searching for a way to bring back its human, emotional, non-utilitarian or gift-based traits. In practical terms degrowth requires multiple paths, from the reduction of the need for, and use of, non-renewable resources and related extractive infrastructure, to deepening democratic processes in society. Above all, degrowth brings forward the need for a debate on the political project of society, and especially on the need to break away from the technological and psychological lock-ins placed by the growth and capital accumulation imperative. From ICTA-UAB and Research & Degrowth we have been writing and working on degrowth for several years already, advancing it beyond the general theoretically-defined framework, and trying to foresee its implications for various fields and components of society and life.
The Summer School on Degrowth will offer a range of perspectives located at the core of the concept, looking at its sources, dimensions and policy implications. For this purpose the school will bring together some of Europe’s leading academics in politics, philosophy, ecological economics, ecology and economics that work in the field of degrowth to teach to the next generation of researchers. Teachers in the school include Clive Spash, Barbara Muraca, Joan Martinez-Alier, Nadia Johanisova, Amaia Orozco, Giorgos Kallis, Fabrice Flipo, Francois Schneider and others. The school will be held close to the campus of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona from July 4-21, 2014. It is organized and coordinated by ICTA (icta.uab.cat) and Research and Degrowth (www.degrowth.org).
Course Structure and Description
The course will be divided in three parts: a first one including an introductory section to a number of degrowth sources, a second one based on the application of degrowth to particular areas (such as social enterprises, infrastructure, environmental conflicts, agroecology, work and macroeconomics) and a third part dedicated to group reflection in the form of assignments, presentations and discussions. The summer school will consist of lectures, field visits and interactive sessions, where students will receive specialized theoretical, methodological and empirical training from expert researchers in complementary fields and be able to engage in discussions with them. Participants will also be expected to present their own work and feedback. Targeted at the master and doctoral level, mainly for students writing or intending to conduct research in the field of degrowth, the summer school will require active participation and a write-up of an essay on one (or more) of the degrowth sources or focus areas.