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Individual Paper: Grassroots Innovations for Degrowth

The Status and Prospects of Community-Led Initiatives in Europe

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Community-led action seeks to bridge the gap between the limits of individual agency and resistance to change on the part of in established institutions. Advocates suggest that mobilising as and within communities of place and practice can allow people to take meaningful and significant action on issues of local and global importance. Sustainability Transitions theory identifies such initiatives as ‘grassroots innovations’ potentially able both to challenge and to overcome inertia, lock-in and vested interests on the part of incumbent actors at regime level.

Community-led initiatives are numerous, diverse in form, and often predate the emergence of Degrowth as a concept or movement. Examples, which often overlap, include Transition initiatives, ecovillages, permaculture projects, community energy, alternative and complementary currency groups, food sovereignty initiatives, cooperatives and commoning. Most are motivated by concerns with sustainability, social justice and economic prosperity and a wish to reverse prevailing negative general trajectories in this area. Many, in their rhetoric and/or actions, explicitly or implicitly reject and seek to provide alternatives to growth-based economic, political and social models. They thus provide living examples of degrowth in action that in many cases prefigure alternative conceptions of how post-growth societies will appear and work.

Academic interest and research effort on community-led initiatives has grown rapidly in recent years, but suffers from a lack of coordination and, in most cases, meaningful and ongoing engagement with initiatives themselves. In order to rectify this, during the first half of 2018 the ECOLISE network of European community-led initiatives on sustainability and climate change is creating its first Status Report. This compiles and synthesises available information on community-led initiatives and movements, including Degrowth, in order to make it more accessible to practitioners, policy-makers and engaged researchers.

This presentation will provide:
- A scientific synthesis of the Status Report
- Critical assessment of its content and working procedure
- Details of ongoing processes for collaborative creation, sharing and reporting of new knowledge about community-based action
- An invitation to all present at the conference to collaborate on future iterations of the Status Report


Day: 2018-08-24
Start time: 14:30
Duration: 00:15
Room: ABF (209)
Track: Degrowth: Culture, Power and Change



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