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The term Decroissance had been around for quite some time but without being central in intellectual debates or activist movements. Antecedents can be found in the tradition of Jacques Ellul, Francois Partant and Bernard Charbonneau a circle of intellectuals developing critics to development. The social movement started in Lyon, where there was an active concentration of environmental associations and social actors, especially in the Croix-Rousse (an important center of resistance) developing combinations of actions for car-free cities, meals in the streets, food cooperatives, anti-advertising, etc. The proper debate started at the beginning of 2002 with a special issue of the ecologist magazine Silence-Ecology and Alternatives and Non-violence – edited by Vincent Cheynet and Bruno Clémentin. The same year the conference Défaire le développement, refaire le monde (Unmake development, remake the world) takes place at UNESCO in Paris, encountering an unattended success. In 2004 degrowth entered the public debate. The monthly magazine La Décroissance, le journal de la joie de vivre was launched, selling today around 30.000 copies. The same year Francois Schneider, activist, researcher and R&D founding member, undertook a tour with a donkey for more than one year, popularising the idea through numerous public debates. Since then other marches have been organized and a number of local degrowth groups have emerged. These groups are active in all range of actions such as opposition and alternatives, intellectual debates and dissemination, political activities with an important focus on the grass-roots. Some attempts have also been made to engage politically in a more traditional way, through a party or political movement. However they have remained very marginal. As usual in the French tradition, the intellectual debate has been very rich leading to numerous publications, with the review Entropia, founded in 2006, as a reference and Serge Latouche as the best know writer. The debate on Décroissance has reached a large part of the French population, as the press, including the mainstream one, regularly mentions the issue.

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