‘Postgrowth – strategies and challenges for change’

Milena Buchs

25th October, 5-6.30pm – Goldsmiths

Richard Hoggart Building 144

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This talk is a joint PERC-CUSP event and part of the PERC Speaker Series 2023/24.

The postgrowth perspective argues it is unlikely that the current climate and ecological emergencies can be tackled effectively without a transformation towards a postgrowth economy. The establishment of postgrowth economies would require fundamental changes, for instance of the capitalist economic system and associated policies, social practices and mentalities. However, how such a transformation can be accomplished remains unclear. This talk will discuss the strategies and challenges associated with such fundamental transformation.

First, this talk will review the strategies for change that the postgrowth movement and literature are advocating. Erik Olin Wright’s framework of symbiotic, interstitial and ruptural change is often referred to in these debates. The analysis of advocated strategies raises important questions regarding the roles of different actors such as the state, businesses and civil society in postgrowth transformation, and it demonstrates that further engagement with concepts such as power and hegemony are required.

Second, this talk will analyse main drivers and barriers to postgrowth transformation experienced by some emerging ‘postgrowth initiatives’ in the global north, including wellbeing economy governments and doughnut economics initiatives. This analysis will build on previous and ongoing empirical research, including in our Horizon Europe project “Towards an economy for sustainable wellbeing”. This talk end by summarising key open questions for ongoing postgrowth research, strategy and practice.

Milena Buchs is Professor of Sustainable Welfare at the University of Leeds and Co-Investigator in the Horizon Europe Project ‘ToBe Towards a sustainable wellbeing economy‘ and PI of the EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship ShaRe (Fellow: Dr Diana Ivanova) which investigates the role of sharing within and between households for carbon reduction. Her research seeks to contribute to making carbon reduction more equitable and wellbeing-enhancing while also being most effective in environmental terms.