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Individual Paper: Crisis as Opportunity: Unlocking the Transformative Potential of the Degrowth Movement in Spain

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In Spain, the economic crisis of 2008 resulted in a youth employment rate of 47% (2011) and half a million of evicted families. As consequences of the crisis were met with austerity policies, a strong resistance movement – the Indignados – evolved, calling for ‘real democracy’ and a different economic model. Nevertheless, no real debate about the underlying cause of the crisis took place in the political sphere. Instead, proposed solutions followed continuously the dominant course of economic growth. In this paper it is analyzed if the economic crisis in Spain in fact opened up a window of opportunity for alternatives to the existing, unsustainable, growth paradigm and whether degrowth is a desirable, viable and achievable alternative. Furthermore, the research is guided by the question about how the socio-ecological transformation in Spain can successfully take place. Erik Olin Wright calls for an emancipatory social science for envisioning real utopias. Using his framework, firstly growth as the dominant paradigm and ultimate solution to overcome the crisis is analyzed and critiqued. It is followed by the evaluation of degrowth as an alternative using Olin Wrights criteria of desirability, viability and achievability. The research is based on an extensive literature review as well as interviews with academics and activists in Spain. Drawing on social movement theory by Tilly and Kolb, possible pathways to steer the socio-ecological transformation are outlined and potentials for the strengthening of the degrowth movement through allyship and other strategies for social movements in Spain are analyzed.


Day: 2018-08-24
Start time: 11:30
Duration: 00:15
Room: Moriskan (Spegeln)
Track: Politics of Degrowth



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