The degrowth movement, uniting grassroots initiatives of various kinds and drawing on the Southern European tradition of décroissance, has in recent years become a common point of reference for a broadly techno-skeptical left in many European countries. Yet, little is known about what social groups these movements recruit themselves from and about their similarities and differences in terms of organizing practices, political views and visions for changing society.
This special session aims to assemble for the first time researchers who empirically investigate degrowth as a social movement. Our intention to comparatively analyze the social composition, organizational diversity, transformative strategies and political outlooks of degrowth movements in various countries and discuss reasons for similarities, differences and interrelationships. This is to provide a basis for discussing strategic questions, challenges and dangers, but also opportunities for the European degrowth movements.
By bringing together researchers or activist-researchers who have conducted surveys, qualitative interviews, and in-depth participant research on the degrowth movements in Germany, France, Southern and Eastern Europe, we hope to introduce some more methodically grounded evidence into the debate on degrowth as a social movement, which has so far mainly been characterized by anecdotal narratives or participant views. In drawing on the knowledge of social movement research and theory, we thus hope to open up new avenues for understanding degrowth – not as simply a debate, platform, or proposal, but as a movement – and provide a fruitful basis for activists’ self-reflection.
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Who are we, anyway? Research on the degrowth movements in Europe“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.