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Individual Paper: Social Solidarity Economy and Degrowth

Widening the “cracks” through communication

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The previous years could have been labeled as the starting point of a new liminal period for the globe as a whole and especially Europe. During these times, people all over the world have released simultaneously different “screams”, which were looking for “cracks in capitalism”, following J. Holloway’s line of thought. Part of these “screams” and “cracks” may have shown antagonistic or parallel efforts to deconstruct, reinscribe and resituate practices and theories in their struggle and experimentation towards inclusive and participatory sustainable worlds. So, they are challenging Bauman’s concept of liquid modernity by opening paths through synergies between plural, emancipatory and convivial views. Two substantial concepts that have been working separately yet parallel so far are Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) and degrowth. While there have been some endeavors from a degrowth academic perspective and from grassroot SSE initiatives and their networks to establish communication channels, there has also been a hesitance for further convergence. The latest is clearly demonstrated in the Global Vision for a SSE of the Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS), that officially introduces the concept of degrowth in the SSE panorama but it also declares that “degrowth is a concept that warrants further discussion within the SSE movement in order to develop a clearer shared understanding”. The purpose of this paper is to try to set up a concrete dialogue between degrowth and SSE. Due to the multidimensional levels and holistic approaches of each of the aforementioned terms, this work can easily be chaotic. In order to enable smooth communication, this paper will briefly present SSE to the degrowth audience and consequently focus on similarities and differences between the examined terms. To do so, the paper, even if it embarks from a diverse economy’s approach, won’t use them as a benchmark, but rather it will embrace the alterity approach, due to its comparative view. The general framework that will be used for the comparison will be the seven distinctive “activity spheres” within the evolutionary trajectory of capitalism by D. Harvey. In details, the sectors of comparison will be a) technologies and organizational forms, b) social relations, c) institutional and administrative arrangements, d) production and labor processes, e) relations to nature, f) the reproduction of daily life and of the species and g) ‘mental conceptions of the world’. In each of the aforementioned “spheres”, there needs to be a pithy overview of the historical and spatial flowering of the converging and controversial points in pursuance of a “clear shared understanding”.


Day: 2018-08-22
Start time: 11:30
Duration: 00:15
Room: ABF (Lilla sallen)
Track: Expanding Geographies of Degrowth



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