TM4 Workshop “Post-/De-growth or Reinventing Life: Prospects and Projects”, 20-22 September 2022

ICAS:MP’s Thematic Module 4 (Normative Conflicts and Transformations) in collaboration with School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Shiv Nadar University will organise a workshop on ‘Post-/De-growth or Reinventing Life: Prospects and Projects’ from 20-22 September 2022.

Conveners: Antje Linkenbach (MWK Erfurt, Germany),  Sunil Ray (Jaipur, India) and Vidhu Verma (JNU Delhi, India)

Debates on de-growth or ‘de-croissance’, questioning ‘growth’ as apparently benign mechanism of global economic and social progress, emerged in Europe in the 1990s. At the turn of the millennium not only the intellectual discourse started to expand on a global scale, but a whole movement consolidated and until today the intellectual and political presence of the issue of ‘de-growth’ is remarkable. Debates also go beyond the immediate economic perspective and open up to concepts like happiness and good life, well-being, justice and democracy. The debates have meanwhile transcended the Northern countries and include perspectives from the global South, where in many countries people (re-) activated own ideas and concepts (like economy of permanence, indigenous forms of good life, cosmologies linking humans and nature) that challenge the Western capitalist imaginary of growth and development.

Recently scholars have made an attempt to establish discussions on de-growth in India (Gerber and Raina 2018).  While focusing primarily on economic alternatives to the ‘global model promoting Western-type growth-driven societies’ (p. 8), they are aware that alternative economics, or alternatives to mainstream economics, cannot be discussed without the wider social and political context. They deliberately call their critical project ‘post-growth’, as alternatives include a spectrum from reformist to radical approaches.

This conference aims to establish a dialogue between critical scholars from different parts of the world, link up with other experiences and ‘share the various ideas and visions of alternatives that are being discussed and practiced across the world’ (Kothari 2018). Thus, the Conference is about futures – ‘preferred futures’ (Alam 1999), alternative futures, the ‘futures we want’ (Schulz 2016) – but even more it will be about power and politics of transformation. The aim of the conference is not simply presenting utopias, but down-to earth / realistic possibilities and solutions in the process of building new worlds. Therefore, while the modern imaginary has to be questioned and alternative visions have to be formulated, we hope to learn how these alternative visions are put into practice in form of movements, projects and experiments in contexts of unequal power distribution.


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