Degrowth has emerged as a strong slogan against economic growth which developed into a movement. But is it something new or may it be traced back to earlier environmental- or youth movements? And if that is the case what are the linkages and what can we learn from past experiences. Thus, from a perspective of imaginary and realized alternatives, and based on a strong critique of the growth society, the paper will look at how rural Sweden emerged as a landscape of resistance for Scandinavian grass root movement from the 1970; where Sweden with large thinly populated hinterlands and cheap properties attracted large numbers of young people from mainly Scandinavia, but also other parts of Europe in the back-to–the-land movement (similar to New Mexico in the US). What connected them was the wish for voluntary simple living, often rejecting wage labour, and combined with self-sufficiency. A result of this was new place-making and rearrangement of spaces in the areas where back-to-the-landers settled. It also created new communities and new ways of sharing the commons and mutual aid. Strongly situated in the author’s own experiences, this paper will track the critique of growth and the search for the simple life. The journey will go from the radical student movement in Copenhagen in 1968, to hunter/gatherer and extensive farming in Northern Sweden in the 1970s, back through rural communes in Southern Sweden in the 1980, in order to finally look at today’s de-politicised transition movement with the question Can Degrowth be the new narrative, linking past and present histories, while drawing new paths for a desirable and durable Great Transformation?
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Tracking “degrowth” through the Scandinavian environmental and youth movements from the late 1960’s to the middle 2010’s“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.