Individual Paper: Elements of degrowth: A theory
Degrowth was not born a scientific concept but became one. Because of a long-standing scepticism towards grand narratives, there has been very few attempts to theorise what degrowth actually is about. Latouche’s (2006) 8R, Flipo’s (2007) five and Demaria et al. (2013) six sources, as well as several dictionary-like approaches (e.g. D’Alisa et al., 2015) remain the only available conceptual frameworks to make sense of the ideas of degrowth. Yet, with an increasing number of academic contributions to the field, they are quickly becoming obsolete. At a time of great need for empirical studies and amid permanent charges against the concept, degrowth must stand on solid theoretical foundations. This paper proposes a new theory of degrowth that systematises the diversity of ideas that have gathered in its frame. Structured as a list of 22 elements in five groups organised in the style of a periodic table, this conceptual framework offers an ideal-type representation of a degrowth society. This attempt at ordering the degrowth toolbox may contribute towards a better understanding of how the different concepts within degrowth may interact together let it be synergies or contradictions. Essentially, the goal is to broaden the horizon of research possibilities within the field, especially in the direction of the concrete policy analysis that is desperately needed to render degrowth more operational for decision-makers.
Start time: 11:30
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