C.4 Activist Research in and for Degrowth

Methods, Theories, Experiences.

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The course introduces into the methods and the theoretical underpinnings of activist/engaged/militant research in and for Degrowth. It covers the various approaches of activist degrowth-research such as on Environmental Justice Organisations (Martinez-Allier et al. 2011), ecological economics and eco-communities (Cattaneo and Mauro 2015, Cattaneo 2006), economies of trust and solidarity (Grasseni 2014) and others. Beyond that we are also concerned with activist degrowth-research in more general terms as a 'post-normal' (D'Alisa/Kallis 2015) and 'post-representational' science (Demmer/Hummel 2017) and as 'Research in Direct Action' (Graeber 2009). In addition activist researchers on degrowth (Claudio Cattaneo) and EJOs (Marta Conde, Beatrice Rodriguez-Labajos) are invited as guests to share with us their experiences and insights.
We ask what are the methods and tools? What other tools do we need and imagine as useful? And how does activist research differ from 'normal' science epistemologically/theoretically? Who is practising activist research and where (in universities, socio-ecological movements, in direct action, processes of transitions...), and for and with whom (stake-holders, peers, the 'public', experts)? Eventually we will also see what kind of knowledges are involved and whether disciplinary boundaries are meaningful any longer once we are on the way towards a politically and ethically positioned sustainability science for degrowth being fed and informed by various 'streams' of knowledges.


The course has a flexible framework allowing our joint work and discussions to evolve according to our needs and knowledges. We can use a variety of methods such as impulse- or group presentations, plenary discussions, work in small groups or the joint pooling of results with flip-charts or improvised paper-boards. Definitely we will allow room for creative time-spaces, where we can perform knowledge such as the theatre-forum, or we experiment with presenting abstract or emotional ideas through our bodies and enacted mini-plays. In addition we want to give room to imagine new ideas and/or our own projects (individually or in groups). The clima-camp itself could be used as a research field/project site for our own activist research on the spot: what kind of inquiries can we imagine here? For what political and socio-ecological transformations? With and for whom could we actually work with on that site? The streets, workers, neighbourhoods, in bars?
A Reader is provided with (passages) of the main texts to be worked with during the course.