the Institutionalisation of Degrowth & Post-growth:
the European level
Brussels, September 17th (2018)
A major degrowth & post-growth conference (http://www.postgrowth2018.eu) convened by European-level stakeholders (Members of the European Parliament from different political groups, academics, NGOs and unions) will take place in the premises of the European Parliament on September 18 and 19 (2018). The event coincides with the 10th anniversary of both the collapse of the US Bank Lehman Brothers, and two seminal conferences: Beyond GDP / GDP and beyond (2007) and the first international Degrowth conference (Paris, 2008). At the heart of the European Union decision-making, the 2018 conference will offer a unique opportunity for the EU civil society and the degrowth and post-growth communities to exchange their views with those of EU officials and staff who define the core of the European economy. Debates will be organized in 20 panel workshops addressing issues as diverse as the pertinence of macro-economic modeling tools used to frame the European economic policies, the relevance and feasibility of basic income schemes, the ultimate goal of the internal market, the environmental consequences of technological progress and many more. The aim of these 2 days – about one year before the next European elections and the nomination of a new Commission – will be to support a wide cultural contagion effect within the EU-institutions by
which the thinking of policy makers could tilt towards genuine sustainability.
The organizers count on a wide and large presence of members of the degrowth and post-growth communities – both at the level of the panel tables but also in the panel rooms – in order to actively participate to the discussion, the confrontations of ideas and the co-configuration of new socioecological arrangements. These 2 days at the EU-Parliament will be preceded by a preparatory and learning seminar at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.
Objectives of the seminar
On September 17th, we invite and convene the active forces of the degrowth and post-growth communities for a 1 day seminar with a double objective:
1° learning from experiences: there are numerous accounts of cultural and scientific contagion which have taken place at the EU-levels since the existence of the European institutions. Examples include management methods (e.g. New Public Management), concepts (e.g. ecosystem services), policy agenda (e.g. Beyond GDP/alternative indicators). We convene a set of friendly analysts and activists who lived – in the near and far past – such institutionalisations from within different EU-institutions; the aim is to debate with them in a plenary session on the mechanisms that prevail within the
institutions, on the inertias, on accelerators and things to avoid, buttons to push, issues to raise repetitively.
2° crowding together on the most pressing policy agendas: scientific and activist communities are extremely lively and many things happen on specific agendas without everybody being updated. In fields in constitution like ours, we move also in different directions, explore adjacent but diverging hypothesis and questions. It seems important in terms of collective preparation to walk into the EU institutions with a two-fold common understanding where our fields are: 1° state-of-art of factual advances of scientific knowledge, including a consolidation of our main shared messages that we absolutely want to get across (e.g. what is common/shared knowledge with respect to macroecological economic modelling? what are our common conclusions from the latest basic income experiments? what should EU policy-makers know about alternative indicators?), 2° open and pressing research and policy questions, i.e. where we see a need to invest future R&D efforts (e.g. upcoming research questions on socio-environmental inequalities?), and including recommendations with respect to the type of research we think is foundational to our degrowth / post-growth agendas, and which policy issues are unjustifiably not on the radars of the EU-institutions.
The seminar will organize:
- In the morning, a plenary session on past and on-going experiences of institutionalising ideas, concepts, questions… into institutions, and in particular at the EU-level
- In the afternoon, a series of thematic parallel sessions around a limited set of themes (typically 4 to 6 working groups with up to 20 participants each) in order to advance on objective 2 above (crowding together) and bring us collectively and content-wise into gear for the 2 days at the EU-Parliament.
The present is the call for papers and participation to these thematic panel sessions of the seminar. We foresee room for 70 to 100 participants who will automatically also be the core participants from the degrowth and post-growth communities to the 2 days at the European Parliament.
Parallel session mechanics and dynamics
The objectives of this learning and preparatory seminar don’t ask for a classical format with full-paper sessions. Rather what seems needed is a confrontation and discussion among thematic experts on the (1°) State-of-Art and currently ongoing work and on (2°) pressing upcoming Research/Policy questions in their respective fields. We invite herewith participants to send in a mark of interest (+/- 500 words) to the seminar with a first account of their vision of both “their” state-of-art and “their” policy questions/conclusions. Once reviewed and accepted, participants will be invited to further develop their ideas into a synthesis statement (+/- 1500 words). These statements will be circulating before the seminar as a basis for the collective discussion, a discussion which will be supported and
actively animated by a set of rapporteurs/synthesizers.
Mark of interest (+/- 500 words)
You are interested in participating actively to this collective challenge? Send us a mark of interest with the following (in a workable file format (docx, odt, rtf, txt…) :
- Your synthetic perspective on the specific current state-of-art in your research field (i.e.
where are we? what have we achieved in terms of knowledge generation and evidence?)
- Your own perspective on the most pressing, upcoming R&D questions, and the policy questions that develop therefrom (i.e. whereto? What for?)
- Your personal data, i.e. name, affiliation, email…
- Mark of interest (+/- 500 words) – June 3rd (2018)
- End of review and ordering process – June 8th (2018), notifications to participants including a proposal of thematic workshops, parallel sessions and overall pre-program
- Final synthesis statement/paper (+/- 1500 words) – August 15th (2018)
- End of registration period – August 15th (2018) (seats are limited by the configuration of the premises!)
- Start of the seminar – September 17th (2018) 10h (-19h)
- Start of the Degrowth/Postgrowth Conference at the European Parliament – September 18th (2018)
We aim for a “high key, low fee” event and will keep expenses to the strict minimum, and concretely at a maximum of 40EUR/person for the day (i.e. providing for small lunch, coffee breaks, seminar rooms, keynotes). Limited institutional sponsorship has been asked for, and will allow adapting participants’ fees accordingly. Participation to the EU-Parliament event on September 18th and 19th is free of charge.
Local organizing committee
Prof. Tom Bauler (ULB)
Dr. Grégoire Wallenborn (ULB)
Julien Vastenaekels (ULB)
Dr. Stephan Kampelmann (ULB)
Prof. Géraldine Thiry (ICHEC)
Dr. Philippe Roman (ICHEC)
To download a copy, click here.