This panel explores ways in which socialist and post-socialist legacies impact the receptivity and expectations from degrowth concepts and strategies. More specifically, this panel attempts to compare modernization projects in the East and West of Europe, with the objective of questioning the Orientalist assumption according to which ideas important for a reorientation towards degrowth come exclusively from the West.
The papers explore this topic along at least two dimensions. The first pertains to analyses of the knowledge production in the region of post-socialist Europe, and in particular the role of the academic field in employing and reinterpreting Orientalist conceptions according to which socialist modernization represented an aberration from the normatively desirable, and supposedly universal modernization trajectory towards capitalist democracies. The second dimension delves into particular practices and legacies in the post-socialist environment of the European semi-periphery, which may be argued to carry relevance for the degrowth project. This for instance relates to the theory and practice of self-management from socialist Yugoslavia, which has since the 1990s been abandoned as a completely failed project. Paradoxically, given the growing relevance of the commons movement and new emphasis on economic democracy, both of which are coming to the European semi-periphery from the West, there is little recognition of the extensive experience that this region has had in experimenting with governance models that embody commons principles.
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Comparing Modernities“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.