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Individual Paper: Degrowth-related thinking in Russian and Soviet thought

by Ekaterina Chertkovskaya

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While the international debate on degrowth has been on the rise in recent years, it is almost unheard of in Russia, where problems like corruption, limited freedoms (e.g. of speech and peaceful demonstration) and the lack of representative democracy are framing the critical discussion of the current political situation. Addressing these problems is definitely important, but may be rooted in particular ideas of good life, including those positioning economic growth, productivism/consumerism and the economy – in case of Russia, fossil- and extractivism-dependent – as central to it. At the same time, in starting the discussion on degrowth, it is important to not simply apply the ways of thinking that have been key for degrowth so far to the Russian context, but – in dialogue with them – to search for connections to degrowth in the intellectual tradition of this space. This is exactly what I aim to do in this presentation, hoping that such an approach would both enrich the degrowth discussion and help to come up with ways of referring to it that would be comprehensible within the Russian context. Guided by this, the current presentation will trace degrowth-related thought in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. From pre-revolutionary time, the work of Sergei Podolinskiy (which included energy in Marx's theory of value), Pyotr Kropotkin (e.g. on mutual aid) and ethico-political writings of Lev Tolstoy (e.g. on non-violence) will be of particular interest. From the Soviet times, connections will be made to Alexander Chayanov’s work on the peasant economy and the work of Soviet ecologists. 

Info

Day: 2018-08-23
Start time: 11:30
Duration: 00:15
Room: Nöjesteatern (Piano bar)
Track: Critical Social Theories

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