Degrowth, environmental justice, direct and deliberative democracy – Christos Zografos (ICTA-UAB)Thursday 9th July, 12.00-13.30, UAB Campus
This lecture provides links between democracy and degrowth, specifically by presenting and reflecting upon the possible role of direct democracy for achieving degrowth transformations. The relevance of democracy for degrowth is paramount. Recently, key degrowth scholars have argued that degrowth will be democratic or else “it won’t be” (Muraca, 2014). During the influential international degrowth conferences of Barcelona (2010) and Leipzig (2014), democracy has been a key and constant theme of participatory processes (working groups and group assembly process respectively), which aimed at advancing policy, action and a research agenda for degrowth. On the whole, degrowth advocates seem to support some sort of a direct democracy version of democracy with respect to how to achieve and collectively govern degrowth transformations. Such a system is both premised upon and realised via decision-making occurring in spaces of widely participative, deliberative assemblies, a sort of a ‘populist deliberative democracy’ where citizens are empowered to directly make public decisions. Direct democracy through deliberative assemblies can be relevant both for implementing governance and decision-making in a future degrowth society, but also for pursuing the radical socio-ecological changes needed to achieve degrowth transformations. In this class, we will explore some of the benefits of integrating such models of direct democracy with degrowth. Furthermore, we will use literature from ecological economics and political ecology as well as personal experiences with group deliberation processes to reflect upon three key criticisms/ debates concerning the practice of direct democracy through deliberative assemblies and its transformative potential.
Background reading material: Cattaneo, C., D’Alisa, G., Kallis, G., & Zografos, C. 2012. Degrowth futures and democracy. Futures, 44(6), 515-523.
Muraca, B. 2014. A postgrowth society will have to be democratic or will not be at all. 4th International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity (Stirring paper), Leipzig, 2-6 September 2014
Suggested, pre-class reading:
Cattaneo, C., D’Alisa, G., Kallis, G., & Zografos, C. 2012. Degrowth futures and democracy. Futures, 44(6), 515-523