Online-Workshop on Organising Interdependencies for a Degrowth Society
This workshop is an experiment addressing the following question:
How do you organise a web of interdependencies beyond the local to the global?
(Interdependencies include flows of material, energy, people, ideas, values that have to be sustained in the long-run.)
Degrowth narratives argue for a transformational change of current economic systems, their institutional regimes as well as their dominant mindsets. Key principles of these narratives include a sustainable steady-state economy instead of a steady economic expansion, degrees of (self-)sufficiency for people and communities, localisation and vernacular economies, autonomy realised in interdependence, dematerialisation of lifestyles and economic flows, universal ‘income’ support, democratisation of economic processes, and change to the nature of work beyond the current confines of gainful employment for ourselves and/or gainful employment for others.
Within Degrowth narratives, there are tensions when it comes to interdependencies between local communities as well as between the local, regional, national and global levels. Following Ivan Illich, autonomy can only be realised in interdependence with our human and non-human others, however the focus of Degrowth narratives is either on the local grassroots level explaining how to transform immediate life worlds through creating small-scale, self-sufficient economic cycles, or on an abstract macro-level arguing for a radical change to current global economic systems and institutions. The tension between local self-sufficiency and global transformation has yet to be resolved. While there is extensive research and activism on e.g. transition towns, community-supported agriculture and eco-villages, we hardly understand what Degrowth might mean for a new kind of World Trade Organisation or an International Monetary Fund or in fact any transnational institution. This has implications for undertaking the desired transformation of current economic systems, as the concrete first steps for this change have yet to emerge.
There is acknowledgement within the Degrowth field that some materials will need to come from elsewhere, that people and ideas have to be allowed to roam between different local systems, and that some form of multilateral, international and global cooperation is necessary in order not to fall into a reactionary and nationalist trap. The term ‘glocal’ – a portmanteau of global and local – has been used as narrative device to frame and hopefully solve these tensions. It is said to come from the Japanese word dochakuka, which simply means global localization, originally referring to a way of adapting farming techniques to local conditions. At a 1997 conference on “Globalization and Indigenous Culture”, sociologist Roland Robertson stated that glocalisation means the simultaneity – the co-presence – of both universalizing and particularizing tendencies.
The core ideas underpinning the terms glocal, glocalisation and glocality have to be adapted to our needs in the field of Degrowth and for the investigation of interdependencies. This also entails finding the proper terminology and phrases for these new forms of production and organisation of our lives. In order to create new realities beyond growth, we need a new vocabulary. With this workshop we want to start a conversation about the multiple scales beyond the polarity of local and global that organise and have organised societies both currently and historically. How do you organise a web of interdependencies beyond the local to the global?
Schedule & Format
Our workshop will consist of three parts, two hours each, spanning all time zones of the planet. If you’re unsure about your timezone, you can check out https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/. (CET = Central European Time, AEDT = Australian Eastern Daylight Time, PST = Pacific StandardTime, EST = Eastern Standard Time)
We will start our conversation on
Fri 26 March 2021 with Part 1 (Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia)
at 09:00 CET (Berlin) / 19:00 AEDT (Sydney).
Zoom Registration Link for Part 1:
We continue our conversation
on the same day with Part 2 (Americas, Europe, Africa)
at 10:00 PST (Vancouver) / 13:00 EST (New York)/ 19:00 CET (Berlin).
Zoom Registration Link for Part 2:
And we finish our conversation
in between Fri 26 March (PST) and Sat 27 March (AEDT) with Part 3 (Americas, Australasia)
at Fri 15:00 PST (Vancouver) / Fri 18:00 EST (New York) / Sat 10:00 AEDT (Sydney).
Zoom Registration Link for Part 3:
Literature and additional sources will be provided.
Important: For every time zone there is at least one convenient option to join, but you can of course participate in all three parts if you like. (Although it will mess up your sleep schedule…) You need to register for each part individually!
Part 1 (Fri 26 March, all times are CET)
09:15 First Input by André Reichel (Germany)
09:30 Second Input by Robert Perey (Australia)
09:45 Breakout Session (max. 4 to 6 groups)
10:15 Reporting out of groups
10:30 Plenary reflection
Part 2 (Fri 26 March, all times are CET)
19:15 First Input by Ana Maria Peredo (Canada)
19:30 Memory Feedback of Part 1 by André Reichel (Germany)
19:45 Breakout Session (max. 4 to 6 groups)
20:15 Reporting out of groups
20:30 Plenary reflection
Part 3 (Sat 27 March, all times are AEDT)
10:15 First Input by Anitra Nelson (Australia)
10:30 Memory Feedback of Part 2 by Ana Maria Peredo (Canada)
10:45 Breakout Session (max. 4 to 6 groups)
11:15 Reporting out of groups
11:30 Plenary reflection