Version 3.2_September 2016

Academic Special Session: Rethinking Degrowth with Diverse Economies (Panel 2)

(Im)potentialities of actually-existing degrowth infrastructures and practices

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As there seems to be no alternative to the capitalist status-quo, the task of overcoming capitalism through degrowth appears daunting. How, then, might we escape this impasse and build an emancipatory narrative? This two-part session brings together researchers affiliated with the international Community Economies Research Network (CERN) to start this dialogue. Analyses inspired by locally generated knowledge and the work of feminist economic geographers Gibson-Graham on economic difference help rethink degrowth. Recognising that a post-growth society is being incubated from within capitalism, we aim to offer a fresh narrative both detailing (Panel 1) and critically appraising (Panel 2) contemporary alternative economies as an affirmative praxis for degrowth.

Yet studying, proposing and theorising practical alternatives is not an easy feat, particularly if one aims to avoid romanticisation by ascertaining the extent and the ways in which alternatives contribute to degrowth. In this part of the conversation we draw from everyday, legal and financial activism across diverse socio-cultural settings to consider whether homo sapiens is also a homo faber capable of developing affirmative infrastructures and practices despite-yet-beyond capitalism. Albeit of the frictional nature of degrowth practices, a non-capitalist future is already here, the contributors argue, and we must find ways of furthering it. But how might we set the many challenges aside and build a narrative that will inspire firm belief that things can be done differently?

Related session: Rethinking Degrowth with Diverse Economies (Panel 1): Narratives and visions of actually-existing degrowth praxis