B.3 The Psychology of Degrowth

A course on personal and scientific reflection of thoughts, opinions, feelings and actions in and on the way towards a degrowth society

Event large

What kind of mindset does it take to be open for a degrowth perspective? How can a degrowth society fulfill personal needs? What circumstances can foster collective action that aims at building an alternative society like the climate camp? How are degrowth behaviors different from other environmental behaviors?

Psychology has only recently begun to take a look at degrowth concepts. In this degrowth summer school course, we will try to jointly get an overview of existing research on the psychology of degrowth or a degrowth transition. Participants will learn about as well as discuss prevalence of degrowth opinions, different types degrowth behaviors, the psychology of a degrowth movement and psychological resources for a transition to what one might call a “degrowth society”. To reach this goal, we will refer to psychological literature on individual and collective action in environmental causes and transfer it into this more radical and anti-capitalist context. Also, general psychological resources that were proposed by Marcel Hunecke to foster sufficient lifestyles will be critically reflected. This course is a starting point to build a bridge between this inevitable way into an alternative society and a science that offers valuable insights into human thoughts, feelings and experiences.

To connect new information with experience, we will integrate a lot of interactive methods into this degrowth summer school course that we have learned and used as coaches of sustainability initiatives at German universities. Diverse methods (e.g. input, groupwork, positionings, moderated discussions, empathic listening) enable participants to reflect emotionally and cognitively about their needs, their surroundings and their own motivation – and connect their experience to discussed research findings.