Sustainability Science | 2019
Living degrowth? Investigating degrowth practices through performative methods
Degrowth scholarship argues for multi-scalar transformations beyond the growth-oriented economic paradigm to achieve long-term socio-ecological sustainability. While the literature on degrowth has grown substantially, little has been said about how these transformations are understood in practice. By drawing upon practice theory and using performative methods, this paper explores the ways in which degrowth scholars and practitioners experience and understand degrowth. It provides a preliminary account of living degrowth by portraying a diverse range of interrelated practices grouped in five spheres: (1) rethinking society, (2) acting political, (3) creating alternatives, (4) fostering connections, and (5) unveiling the self. Drawing upon the spheres of practices, we conceptualize living degrowth as an endeavour that aims to transform current problems into imagined futures in multiple realms. The practices of living degrowth are concerned with theoretical, political, material, economical, social and personal dimensions of world and life. This points to the importance for sustainability science to investigate and foster transformations in all domains and at all levels, reaching from the outer to the inner and vice versa.