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Academic Special Session: Feminism(s) and Degrowth (1)

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For decades, the feminist movement have developed a rich repertoire of criticism against the dominant socio-economic system, articulating the role of social difference in producing devalutions (e.g. social reproduction) central to the functioning of capitalist growth economies. This history makes the feminist tradition well-poised to respond to mounting ecological crises and increasing global inequality we face today— challenges that are also of central concern to the degrowth movement. Indeed, feminism and degrowth share much in terms of concepts, debates, and strategies: both build on a criticism of the divide between the spheres of production/reproduction and shift focus on the conditions of reproduction and regeneration, of both human and non-human worlds. The feminist debates on rendering the unpaid labour/non-market work visible is paralleled by degrowth’s insistence on shedding light on environmental limits inherent to any project of unlimited growth. Both traditions build on a critique of extreme individualism, competition and violence of economic (neo)liberalism, an awareness that social change requires transformation of daily lives, and a vision for reconstituting relations (among humans as well as between humans and non-humans) based on principles of care and cooperation.

Yet, the likely alliance of feminism and degrowth have so far remained limited. This session aims to explore the ways in which an alliance between degrowth and feminism(s) can be fostered, including the differences/tensions between the two movements, and the challenges and potential strategies. It hopes to promote a continuing debate on how the two movements can enrich each other and push for a gender equitable ecologically sustainable futures.