Edited by Giacomo D'Alisa, Federico Demaria and Giorgos Kallis

Degrowth; A Vocabulary for a New Era
Editions:Paperback: £ 28.00
ISBN: 9781138000773
Pages: 220
Hardcover: £ 100.00
ISBN: 9781138000766
Pages: 220
ePub: £ 14.50
ISBN: 9780203796146

Degrowth is a rejection of the illusion of growth and a call to repoliticize the public debate colonized by the idiom of economism. It is a project advocating the democratically-led shrinking of production and consumption with the aim of achieving social justice and ecological sustainability.

This overview of degrowth offers a comprehensive coverage of the main topics and major challenges of degrowth in a succinct, simple and accessible manner. In addition, it offers a set of keywords useful for intervening in current political debates and for bringing about concrete degrowth-inspired proposals at different levels - local, national and global.

The result is the most comprehensive coverage of the topic of degrowth in English and serves as the definitive international reference.

Promotion Video for the Book

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Reviews:Andrew J. Sutter on Ecological Economics wrote:

"Without question, the publication of this volume edited by D'Alisa et al. is a welcome addition to the literature on degrowth, particularly in English. While a few of its fifty or so contributors, such as Tim Jackson, Serge Latouche, Juliet Schor and Peter Victor, have already published major full-length works about degrowth in Britain or North America, and while a number of others may be known to readers of this journal, many represent a new generation of scholars and activists. Degrowth advocates should be encouraged by this evidence of the vitality of their field. [...] Though the work is quite interdisciplinary, a substantial proportion of entries are directly pertinent to the ecological economics community, to which the editors themselves belong. They also contribute an historical overview in their introduction, and break new ground in their epilogue by promoting Georges Bataille's notion of dépense as an organizing concept for the degrowth movement. Squeezing so many essays into a mere 220 pages inevitably creates some strains. The most serious is the tendency throughout to resolve all contested issues within a sentence or two, while excluding author references to the losing point of view. In consequence this 'vocabulary' often seems quite normative, consolidating degrowth around a philosophical critique of the global North-South dialectic of development, coupled with projects for local and individual action. That contributors discuss inequality only as between countries, but never within them, corroborates this impression. Unfortunately, not only is this silence surprising in view of the attention given Piketty (2013) and other recent works, it doesn't do anything to counter assertions that growth is necessary for reducing intracountry inequality. The book's neglect of much of the Continental degrowth literature, especially francophone, further reinforces its normativity. In effect, the contributors treat degrowth as being congruent with décroissance. But the two concepts differ."

Leslie Sklair on The British Journal of Sociology wrote:

"This is an unusual book, comprised of 51 short (3–4 page) entries between a longer introduction and epilogue by the editors. Here we find eco-economists, anti-utilitarians, (neo)Marxists, political ecologists, co-operativists, nowtopians, back-to-the-landers, and many others. [...] While the intellectual roots are far-flung, the book emanates from a reading group on Research & Degrowth at the Institute of Environmental Science & Technology (ICTA), Autonomous University of Barcelona. [...] Quite a few errors have crept into the book, most seriously in the entry on the Jevons’ paradox on p. 122, 13 lines from the bottom: ‘rebound is greater than per cent’ should be ‘100 per cent’. Apart from its wild utopianism the most important weakness in the book is its failure to deal with the transition to a degrowth society at any scale beyond the very local – which is really a failure to deal adequately with the problem of the state and hierarchy after capitalism (though the entry on depoliticization makes a start). Nevertheless, this book should be compulsory reading for all students in universities and sixth form colleges everywhere. The authorities would be well advised to ban it."


Lecture on the Book

A 29-minute lecture by co-editor Giorgos Kallis from September 2015:

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Table of Contents of Degrowth

  • Preface (Giacomo D'Alisa, Federico Demaria, Giorgios Kallis Foreword Francois Schneider and Fabrice Flipo)
  • Introduction: Degrowth (Giorgios Kallis, Federico Demaria, Giacomo D'Alisa)

Part 1: Lines of thought

  1. Anti-utilitarianism (Onofrio Romano)
  2. Bio-economics (Mauro Bonaiuti)
  3. Development, Critiques of (Arturo Escobar)
  4. Environmental Justice (Isabelle Anguelovski)
  5. Environmentalism, Currents of (Joan Martinez-Alier)
  6. Metabolism, Societal (Alevgul Sorman)
  7. Political ecology (Susan Paulson)
  8. Steady-state economics (Joshua Farley)

Part 2: The core

  1. Autonomy (Marco Deriu)
  2. Capitalism (Diego Andreucci and Terrence McDonough)
  3. Care: (Marco Deriu, Giacomo D’Alisa and Federico Demaria)
  4. Commodification (Erik Gomez)
  5. Commodity frontiers (Marta Conde and Mariana Walter)
  6.  Commons (Silke Helfrich and David Bollier)
  7. Conviviality (Marco Deriu)
  8. Dematerialization (Sylvia Lorek)
  9. Dépense (Onofrio Romano)
  10. Depoliticization ("the Political") (Erik Swyngedouw)
  11. Disaster Pedagogy (Serge Latouche)
  12. Entropy (Sergio Ulgiati)
  13. Emergy (Sergio Ulgiati)
  14. GDP (Daniel O'Neil)
  15. Growth (Peter Victor)
  16. Happiness (Filka Sekulova)
  17. Imaginary, Decolonization of (Serge Latouche)
  18. Jevons' paradox (Blake Alcott)
  19. Neo-Malthusians (Joan Martinez-Alier)
  20. Peak oil (Christian Kerschner)
  21. Simplicity (Samuel Alexander)
  22. Social limits of growth (Giorgos Kallis)

Part 3: The Action

  1. Back-to-the-landers (Rita Calvario and Iago Otero)
  2. Basic and maximum income (Samuel Alexander)
  3. Community currencies (Kristoffer Dittmer)
  4. Cooperatives (Nadia Johanisova, Ruben Suriñach Padilla and Philippa Parry)
  5. Debt audit (Sergi Cutillas, David Llistar and Gemma Tarafa)
  6. Digital commons (Mayo Fuster Morell)
  7. Disobedience (Xavier Renou)
  8. Eco-communities (Claudio Cattaneo)
  9. Indignados (Occupy) (Viviana Asara and Barbara Muraca)
  10. Job Guarantee (Brandon Unti)
  11. Money, Public (Mary Mellor)
  12. New Economy (Tim Jackson)
  13. Nowtopians (Chris Carlsson)
  14. Post-normal science (Giacomo D’Alisa and Giorgios Kallis)
  15. Unions (Denis Bayon)
  16. Urban Gardening (Isabelle Anguelovski)
  17. Work-sharing (Juliet Schor)

Part 4: Alliances

  1. Buen Vivir (Eduardo Gudynas)
  2. Economy of permanence (Chiara Corazza and Victus Solomon)
  3. Feminist economics (Antonella Picchio)
  4. Ubuntu (Mogobe B. Ramose)
  • Epilogue: From austerity to dépense (Giacomo D'Alisa, Giorgios Kallis and Federico Demaria)

About the Editors

  • Giacomo D'Alisa is Research Fellow at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.
  • Federico Demaria is aPhD candidate at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.
  • Giorgios Kallis is Research Professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

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