DecolDEV members taking part in 8th International Degrowth Conference “Caring Communities for Radical Change”

Thursday, 26 August
14.30-16.00

12.1 Panel Session (online): Degrowth – the Eurocentric nature of conceptualizations and movements, co-facilitated by Withney L. Russell with Milica Kočović De Santo, Adam Pomieciński and Inga Kuzma.

Session abstract

As capitalist logics advocating growth for growth’s sake encounter the finite resources of a planet, new social movements and political frameworks for “degrowth” are pushing back. The consensus among these movements appears to be that, at a certain point, it is both untenable and immoral for a state economy to continue on a growth trajectory. This year’s International Degrowth Conference (hosted both remotely and in The Hague) explores care as a potential anti-capitalist logic that could bring about a radical change in some economies.

Our panel seeks to interrogate the Eurocentric nature of conceptualizations of, and movements towards, degrowth. While many European economies are substantial enough to consider a degrowth policy without significant impacts on the quality of life of their citizens, the idea that degrowth is only something for wealthy countries is concerning. In keeping with the themes of this year’s conference, we wish to reconsider this logic by thinking about how non-European understandings of both care and radical change can challenge, revise, or influence how scholars are thinking about degrowth and its political possibilities. While the co-organizers of this panel are both anthropologists working within the academy, we welcome papers from all disciplines, as well as from people working outside a formal university institution.

Wednesday, 25 August
17.00-18.30

8.1 Panel session (online): Degrowth, decoloniality and the academia, chaired by Julia Schöneberg.

Paper presentation Humanising the Academia. Unlearning and relearning academic practices through co-motherhood and sahwirahood by Faith Mkwesha and Paola Minoia.

With this paper, we intend to reflect on a story of institutionalized racism and the solidarity that has connected one another. The story is personal and, at the same time, political. The area in focus is that of the academy as a location of social relations following events that occurred in the public space. The events concern the profiling of black lives (in this specific case: violence against an adolescent child) and daily insecurity, and fear of expressing, within the academy, the effects of violence and lack of institutional protection. We discovered that intersectional inequality, affecting the positioning of diverse scholars in the academic career and networking, also exists in anti-racist academic groups. Scholars who do not concentrate on publishing in highly ranked academic venues but also engage in political activism and criticism towards institutions, encounter more difficulties, isolation, and work precariousness. Pseudo-activism is normalised, disciplined, and well supported when expressed in abstract terms, or scrutinizing foreign institutions. On the contrary, discrimination is not addressed, if it questions local academy or other national institutions. Against this backdrop, our quest for academic solidarity for the case of racial violence received poor reactions or paternalistic and silencing responses. Based on that, the authors decided to act through decolonial strategies of co-motherhood and sahwirahood. Co-motherhood involves collective care of children and beloved ones; it is a community caring practice, based on both original cultures of the two authors: rooted in their cultural traditions and feminist at the same time. Sahwira is instead an ubuntu-centred practice in use in Zimbabwe (one of the authors’ country of origin) involving solidarity, voicing, and healing, both reflective and transformative, which can humanise relations in the academy. We developed our sahwirahood on a multiscale level, involving international decolonial networks, to return, strengthened, into the local space.

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