Special issue Framing Degrowth

Call for papers: please circulate widely

Special issue on “Framing Degrowth: from diagnosis to development alternatives”

Targeted journal: “Development and Change”

Guest editors: Joan Martinez-Alier, Esteve Corbera, Viviana Asara, Federico Demaria, Iago Otero
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Ecological Economics and Integrated Assessment Unit, Barcelona, Spain.


Further enquiries about the special issue can be directed to Viviana Asara (viviana.asara@uab.cat)

Deadlines and guidelines

Abstracts (between 300 and 500 words) should be submitted by September 15st 2013 to viviana.asara@uab.cat
Final drafts (between 8,000 to 10,000 words including notes and references) should be submitted by 30th October 2013 to viviana.asara@uab.cat

Please follow the Authors’ Guidelines at the journal’s website

The degrowth (“décroissance” in French) movement has emerged in the last decade in some European countries. It is a movement built around a critique of the growth economy, which draws strongly on the “limits to growth” and strong sustainability debates of the 1970s. The underlying premise is that continuous economic growth is ecologically unsound, economically unsustainable, and it is no longer improving social welfare and happiness (Jackson, 2011). Degrowth is a movement that mixes science and activism (Demaria et al., 2013; Schneider et al., 2010); it suggests re-thinking and reducing energy and material throughput to cope with existing biophysical constraints (in terms of natural resources and ecosystem’s assimilative capacity), and it conveys a wider critique of socio-economic organizations based on instrumental rationality, consumerism, utilitarianism and productivism (Muraca, 2013; Asara et al. 2013).

Degrowth was first launched in the beginning of the 21st century as a project of voluntary societal shrinking of production and consumption aimed at social and ecological sustainability (Demaria et al, 2013). It quickly became a slogan against economic growth (Bernard et al., 2003) and developed into a social movement. The term has also encompassed an intellectual project, entering academic journals (Fournier, 2008; Martinez-Alier et al, 2010; Victor, 2010) and at least five Special Issues or Special Sections have been dedicated to the topic over the last four years (Kallis et al. 2010; Cattaneo et al 2012; Saed 2012; Sekulova et al 2013; Kallis et al. 2012).

This special issue aims at articulating the degrowth critique, proposal and movement through a framework composed of four different axes: critique to growth societies, degrowth policies, actors and strategies for degrowth, and alternative world-visions. In “frame analysis perspective” terms (Robert and Benford, 1988) the diagnostic part of the degrowth critique of the first axis is thus complemented with the prognostic analysis of policies (second axis) and bottom-up case studies (third axis). In the fourth axis, we aim at building bridges with ?alternatives to development? that are intimately linked with the degrowth critique. The degrowth movement is indeed an ally not only of the Environmental Justice movement and the ?environmentalism of the poor? of the South (Martinez-Alier, 2002), but also of other movements such as Buen Vivir from Latin America, Radical Ecological Democracy (RED) from India or Ubuntu from South Africa that put forward a different socio-economic model and embody the cultural critique that represents one of the pillars of degrowth framing. These concepts show that there are alternatives imaginaries to growth and development. If degrowth challenges the idea of development in the Global North, other imaginaries -such as Buen Vivir, RED or Ubuntu- challenge it elsewhere. Degrowth, rather than arguing for ‘less of the same’ (i.e. less GDP), advocates for different socio-ecological futures.

Journal: possibly Development and Change (To be confirmed)
Development and Change has already dealt with the topics of growth/degrowth. Although Martinez-Alier (2009) first introduced the concept of socially sustainable economic degrowth in the journal within a debate on climate change and capitalism, Ho (2006) led a volume on the issue of greening of state and society, concentrating on the case of China. Ho and Vermeer (2006) concluded that we should “explore possibilities of “precautionary” limits to growth” and avoid notions that incremental changes in technology, institutions and lifestyles “will save us”. Other themes dealt with by the journal are also crucial to degrowth framing, like the commodification of nature (Arsel and Buscher, 2012; Peluso, 2012), a bioeconomics approach to development and change (Mayumi, 2009), developmental issues and ?alternative development? (Kwon and Yi, 2009; Cunguara and Hanlon, 2012) and “alternatives to development” (Dinerstein and Deneulin, 2012).


Arsel, M. and B. Büscher. 2012. Nature? Inc.: Changes and Continuities in Neoliberal Conservation and Market-based Environmental Policy. Development and Change 43 (1): 53-78

Asara, V., E. Profumi and G. Kallis. 2013. “Degrowth, democracy and autonomy”. Environmental Values 22: 217?239.

Bernard, M., V. Cheynet and B. Clémentin (eds.). 2003. Objectif decroissance. Lyon, France: Parangon/Vs.

Cattaneo, C., G. D?Alisa, G. Kallis and C. Zografos (eds.). 2012. “Degrowth futures and democracy”, Futures 44(6): 515?523.

Cunguara, B. and J. Hanlon. 2012. Whose Wealth Is It Anyway? Mozambique’s Outstanding Economic Growth with Worsening Rural Poverty. Development and Change 43 (3): 623-647

Demaria, F., F. Schneider, F. Sekulova and J. Martinez-Alier. 2013. “What is Degrowth? From an activist slogan to a social movement”. Environmental Values 22: 191?215.

Dinerstein, A.C. and S. Deneulin. 2012. Hope Movements: Naming Mobilization in a Post-development World. Development and Change 43 (2): 585?602

Fournier, V. 2008. “Escaping from the economy: the politics of degrowth”. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 28: 528?545.

Ho, P. 2006. Trajectories for greening in China: theory and practice.  Development and Change 37: 1: 3-28

Ho, P. and E. B Vermeer. 2006. China’s Limits to Growth? The Difference Between Absolute, Relative and Precautionary Limits. Development and Change 37(1): 255?271

Jackson, T., 2009. Prosperity Without Growth? Sustainable Development Commission.

Kallis, G., C. Kerschner and J. Martinez-Alier. 2012. “The economics of degrowth”. Ecological Economics 84: 172?180.

Kallis, G., F. Schneider and J. Martinez-Alier (eds.). 2010. “Special Issue. Growth, Recession or Degrowth for Sustainability and Equity?” Journal of Cleaner Production 6 (18): 511?606.

Kwon, H. and I. Yi. 2009. Economic Development and Poverty Reduction in Korea: Governing Multifunctional Institutions. Development and Change 40 (4): 769-792

Martinez-Alier, J. 2002. The Environmentalism of the poor. A study of Ecological Conflicts and Valuation. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Martinez-Alier, J. 2009. Socially sustainable economic de-growth. Development and Change 40 (6): 1099?1119

Martinez-Alier, J., U. Pascual, F. Vivien and E. Zaccai. 2010. “Sustainable de-growth: Mapping the context, criticisms and future prospects of an emergent paradigm”. Ecological Economics 69(9): 1741?1747.

Muraca, Barbara. Décroissance: A Project for a Radical Transformation of Society. Environmental Values 22: 147?169

Peluso, N. L. 2012. What’s Nature Got To Do With It? A Situated Historical Perspective on Socio-natural Commodities. Development and Change 43 (1): 79?104.

Saed, 2012. “Introduction to the degrowth symposium”. Capitalism Nature Socialism 23 (1): 26?29.

Schneider, F., G. Kallis and J. Martinez-Alier. 2010. “Crisis or opportunity? Economic degrowth for social equity and ecological sustainability. Introduction to this special issue”. Journal of Cleaner Production 18: 511?518.

Sekulova, F., G. Kallis, B. Rodríguez-Labajos and F. Schneider. 2013. “Degrowth: from theory to practice”. Journal of Cleaner Production 28: 1?6.

Victor, P. 2010. “Questioning economic growth”. Nature 468: 370?371.