CfP: Geographies of Degrowth

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(Gualter Barbas Baptista) #1

Reminder/2nd call: CFP: Geographies of Degrowth

American Association of Geographers meeting
April 5-9 2017, Boston, MA

  • Organizers:
    Giorgos Kallis (Autonomous University of Barcelona), Karen Bakker
    (University of British Columbia), Federico Demaria (Autonomous
    University of Barcelona)

A movement of activists and intellectuals in France, southern Europe, and beyond has given the name “décroissance” (degrowth) to its vision for an alternative to capitalist socioecological relations. Degrowth signifies a ruthless critique of the ideology of economic growth and of its material effects, as well as a search for alternatives beyond a ‘one-way
future consisting only of growth’ (Le Guin, 1982). Degrowth draws from the postdevelopment and antiutilitarianism literatures, Georgescu-Roegen’s understanding of the economy as an entropic process, and post-Marxist intersections of socialism, anarchism and ecology.

The intellectual genealogy of degrowth includes the likes of Andre Gorz, Ivan Illich, Cornelius Castoriadis and Hannah Arendt, while there are many parallels with Murray Bookchin’s libertarian municipalism. The contemporary theory of degrowth articulates a new analytical vocabulary around concepts such as ‘autonomy’, ‘conviviality’, ‘care’ and ‘dépense’ (unproductive expenditure) (D’Alisa, Demaria, and Kallis 2014).

Degrowth is invoked by prominent scientists (Anderson and Bows-Larkin 2013) and radical intellectuals (Klein 2013) in the context of climate change given the incompatibility between continued economic growth and staying within the 2 oC temperature change. Degrowth inspires and is inspired by grassroots practices, movements, and green-red politics (Baykan 2007, Demaria et al, 2013); and its theory speaks to pertinent debates in political ecology and critical geography, such as scarcity and limits, or the politics and scales of a postcapitalist transition (Kallis and March, 2015). As some advanced economies face a period of prolonged economic stagnation and the hegemony of the imaginary of
growth is unsettled, degrowth poses the question of whether, or rather how, conditions of crisis may be turned into an opportunity for a radical, egalitarian socio-environmental transformation.

Geographers have traced the embodiment of the imaginary of degrowth in fiction and grassroots initiatives (Kallis and March, 2015), have deconstructed the depoliticizing effects of the growth discourse (Swyngedouw, 2015), and have investigated how cities and their politics adapt to the prolonged and foreseeable absence of growth (Schindler, 2016). Nonetheless, there is scope for more geographical research on the processes and theory of degrowth, and cross-fertilization between degrowth and studies of diverse economies, decolonization, discard and waste, urban (regional) shrinkage, or economic and environmental geography.

We are particularly interested in papers that address one or more of the following topics (this is only an indicative list):

  • historical analyses of the genesis and expansion of the growth paradigm (e.g. Dale, 2012); how the hegemony of growth was created and how it is reproduced in public, political and institutional discourses and practices (e.g. Schmelzer, 2016).
  • capital accumulation and the growth imperative, the limits to degrowth within capitalist systems (e.g. Foster, 2011), (de)growth and socialism.
  • cities, regions or countries that manage without growth (e.g. Schindler, 2016).
  • degrowth-related ideas in contemporary social movements, grassroots initiatives or other ‘nowtopias’ (e.g. Kallis and March, 2015, Carlsson and Manning, 2010, Demaria et al, 2013, Asara, 2016).
  • changes in the forms and distribution of care-work in stagnant economies; studies of the ways that grassroots degrowth or other nowtopias reproduce or challenge patriarchal structures and redistribute (or not) carework (e.g. D’Alisa and Cattaneo, 2013).
  • theoretical engagements with the classical thinkers that inform the degrowth literature (eg Gorz, Illich, Castoriadis, Bookchin, Arendt).
  • Links with other thinkers that may not have been mobilized yet in degrowth debates.
  • applications and developments of core concepts of the degrowth vocabulary (autonomy, conviviality, care, dépense, etc) in concrete geographical or ethnographic contexts.

We invite interested participants to send their title, 250-word abstract, and affiliation to Giorgos Kallis (, Karen Bakker ( and Federico Demaria ( by October 15, 2016. We will notify accepted participants by October 22.


  • Anderson, K., and A. Bows-Larkin. 2013. Avoiding dangerous climate change demands de-growth strategies from wealthier nations. (last accessed 23 July 2014)
  • Asara, V., 2016. The Indignados as a Socio‐Environmental Movement: Framing the Crisis and Democracy. Environmental Policy and Governance. Available online 10.1002/eet.1721
  • Baykan, B. G. 2007. From limits to growth to degrowth within French Green politics. Environmental Politics 16 (3): 513–17.
  • Carlsson, C. and Manning, F., 2010. Nowtopia: strategic exodus?. Antipode, 42(4), pp.924-953.
  • D’Alisa, G. and Cattaneo, C., 2013. Household work and energy consumption: a degrowth perspective. Catalonia’s case study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 38, pp.71-79.
  • Dale, G., 2012. The growth paradigm: a critique. International Socialism, Issue 134.
  • D’Alisa, G., Demaria, F. and Kallis, G., 2014. Degrowth: a vocabulary for a new era. Routledge.
  • Demaria, F., F. Schneider, F. Sekulova, and J. Martinez-Alier. 2013. What is degrowth? From an activist slogan to a social movement. Environmental Values 22 (2): 191–215.
  • Foster, J.B., 2011. Capitalism and Degrowth-An Impossibility Theorem. Monthly Review, 62(8), p.26.
  • Kallis, G. and March, H., 2015. Imaginaries of hope: The utopianism of degrowth. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 105(2), pp.360-368.
  • Klein, N. 2013. How science is telling us all to revolt. New Statesman 29 October 2013. (last accessed 24 July 2014).
  • Le Guin, U. 1982. A non-Euclidean view of California as a cold place to be. Lecture, University of California, San Diego, CA.
  • Schindler, S., 2016. Detroit after bankruptcy: A case of degrowth machine politics. Urban Studies, 53(4), pp.818-836.
  • Schmelzer, M., 2016. The Hegemony of Growth: The OECD and the Making of the Economic Growth Paradigm. Cambridge University Press.
  • Swyngedouw, E. 2014. Depoliticization (‘the political’). In D’Alisa, G., Demaria, F. and Kallis, G., (eds) Degrowth: a vocabulary for a new era. Routledge. pp. 90-94

Community Report #8 (October 6th)
(Adrien Labaeye) #2

yeah I saw, but Boston… not flying for a conference…

(Jon Richter) #3

I think it could still be good to send a paper, but participation is out of question, of course.