Societies beyond growth - alternative models for sustainable futures: practices and discourses
The need for radical social transformations is growing and is being recognized by the scholars, policy makers, national and local governments, as well a as by ordinary people. The aim of the proposed seminar is to discuss critically the problems of societal, political and economic transitions which emerged around the concept of “limits to growth”. The idea comes from a widely debated report of Club of Rome published in 1972, where the first mention of the incompatibility between the current model of economic growth (based on GDP increase) and the resources depletion was brought into the focus of public and political debate. The legacy of this report is not forgotten and the message is even more acute today in the time of multiple crises, from economic, societal to cultural and ecological. Within this framework de-growth and/or post-growth have been put forward as a transition pathways towards a socially and ecologically sustainable and fair future, where the primary needs of all members of global community are met. The seminar will give outlook into the current academic debates and theories around the concepts of post-growth and de-growth, steady state, good work, ecological economics, human flourishing, politics of good life. The seminar will focus on debating the social implications of these concepts and put them in sociological perspective, but nevertheless keep their interdisciplinary status. The problems discussed in the seminar will reflect the current debates on local and global issues and will include: the effects of climate change, the solidarity movements in Europe and beyond, the growing precarization of work, the growing social and economic inequalities, democracy deficiency. The second part of the seminar will introduce the practical models of alternative ways of development which gather around the concept of limits to growth. These are both practical, as well as theoretical solutions which attempt to stay in line with the emerging new paradigm of post/de-growth societies. The two concepts are not entirely synonymous, but for the purpose of this seminar description will be discussed together under post/de-growth.