Special Seminar: Going beyond the growth paradigm: a degrowth proposal towards socio-ecological transformation

Date: Tuesday 28 February 2023
Place: Tonantei, 2 Floor Inamori Building,
Time: 15:30-17:00

Title: Going beyond the growth paradigm: a degrowth proposal towards socio-ecological transformation

The relentless pursuit of economic growth is the defining characteristic of contemporary societies. Yet it benefits few and demands monstrous social and ecological sacrifice. There is a troublesome connection between economic expansion,social inequality and ecological disruption, driven by individualism, patriarchal values, and colonial imaginary. 

Is there a viable alternative? How can we halt the endless quest to grow global production and consumption and instead secure socio-ecological conditions that support lives worth living for all? The time is ripe for us to refocus on what really matters: not GDP, but the health and well-being of the people and our planet. The goal of degrowth is to purposefully slow things down in order to minimize harm to humans and earth systems and to reduce exploitation. Degrowthers aspire to live simply so that others, human and non-human beings, can simply live; they conceive an imaginary founded on the inter-dependency and eco-dependency of existence and the immanent vulnerability of the beings.

Giacomo D’Alisa is a Maria Zambrano Fellow at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain and a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo, Japan. He is a political ecologist trained in environmental economics trained in environmental economics, political theory and integrated assessment of socio-ecological metabolism. His research is action-oriented and, with a strong community service component, contributes to sustainability studies and impact on society. He employs innovative frameworks to investigate changes in societal metabolic patterns and the consequent environmental injustices they can generate. His investigation focuses on “common goods” (natural resources, knowledge, health, etc.) and “common bads” (waste, pollution, contamination, etc.) dilemmas exploring the “growth vs degrowth” diverging societal trajectories in the broader context of sustainability transformations and paradigmatic societal change. 

He is at the core of degrowth scholarship, one of the most debated topics in sustainability studies and has extensively published on the subject and been an active member in several academic and transdisciplinary initiatives, which lead to the consolidation of the degrowth arena. Recently he co-authored a monograph for Polity Press (The case for degrowth, recently translated into Japanese with NHK Press). His previously coedited volume with Routledge: Degrowth a Vocabulary for a New Era, is considered a landmark publication in the critical post-growth scholarship.