29 – 02 September 2023
As the late-pandemic year 2023 opens the scope for human conviviality, worn thin after years of shock, tragedy and restrictions, we are witnessing a worrying rise of authoritarian populism and the rapid disintegration of the global thermoindustrial supply chains, while natural life-support is plundered. As we study, debate and explain, using the conference as a mineralization of the global really useful knowledge, whole domains of knowledge and expertise are readily dismissed as obsolete when not in service of instantaneous growthism. The Week and Conference in Zagreb will offer a stepping stone to concerted and coordinated resistance to such exploitation of people and nature with an intellectual focus on assembling the believable society for the next generation from our shared goods.
The 2023 conference, entitled “Planet, People, Care: It Spells Degrowth!”, emerges after another global shockwave within our lifetimes. Following the series of conferences that started in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, and which showed that neoliberalism’s promise of development - even when unfair and destructive - was untrue, in 2023 we hope to embark on a new wave of decolonising our imaginary through gradual post-Covid reconstruction. To remind ourselves that degrowth is not just a theory, but that the aim of degrowth is to create a safe society which could meet citizens' needs in a collaborative and collective way. The 2023 conference will provide a platform to reaffirm our community values and reassess the socio-climate impact our actions have, especially those blindly dependent on technologies and further technocratic development.
The 9th International Conference takes place in an emboldened and much more self-aware community that refuses to accept that lurching from one crisis to the next under technocratic fixes that do nothing for the rising injustices and planetary lifesystems destruction is the best we can do. A conference alone will not fix the world, but we’d been hungry for live gatherings where we can talk and sing about building a believable and liveable future. Following the great endurance and success of three (partly) online international conferences in Vienna, Manchester and The Hague, degrowth is committed to reigniting physical meetings in a shared space.
The conference will sit at the heart of a broader Zagreb Degrowth Week, a free arts and conviviality festival realised in parallel with complimentary events in neighbouring cities. It will bring together activists, artists, academics, practitioners, political representatives, and the general public in presenting alternative readings of the most recent global shocks and possible pathways to care and resilience, free from the unreflexive imperative of growth for growth’s sake. Participants' co-creation of a degrowth understanding of the tracks that led to the present calamitous predicament, and the just and environmentally sound ways away from it will be the common aim for the conference gathering.
A perspective on degrowth from the post-socialist semi-periphery of Croatia, with a turbulent transition to capitalism in hindsight, suggests that capitalist development can lead to de-development, depopulation and environmental degradation — making an alternative pathway into a just and sustainable future not only necessary but also politically desirable. Particularly, if viewed from the historical vantage point of the Non-Aligned Movement’s internationalism, worker self-management and collectively-managed welfare system that characterised pre-capitalist development in this part of the world, an altogether different green transition might be both imaginable and practicable.
The conference is organised by a consortium of organisations and initiatives working on degrowth in Zagreb. It will take place in multiple venues in Zagreb, centred around Zagreb Fair pavillion space. The Conference opens in the afternoon of 29th August and ends in the afternoon of 2nd September, following 4 full working days.
Please note that the conference fee includes access to all conference events, a lunch and two coffee breaks for each of the conference days.
The conference will accept academic and non-academic presentations.
The academic sessions are divided into two types: Paper Presentations and Special Sessions. Paper Presentations last up to 15 mins and will be grouped together based on shared Thematic Streams into 90 mins blocks including discussions. Special Sessions take 90 mins and can take a form of pre-organized connected paper presentations, discussion panels, book presentations and the like. It is up to the proposers of the Session to gather the interested participants and to provide a brief description of the overall event for evaluation. It is preferable that you anonymise the description as much as possible (i.e. not naming the participants in the Abstract field).
For non-academic presentations select the format “Non-academic Session” when submitting your proposal. These proposals by default take 90mins, but you can provide information on wishing a shorter time-slot in the programme in the Abstract or Submission notes fields. In the Abstract please describe what kind of event you are proposing (a workshop, a discussion panel, a practical demonstration of achievements and the like) and what added value you wish to bring to the conference.
All sessions will be blind peer-reviewed to evaluate their merit to participate in the conference. All submitters will be invited to participate in the peer-review by reviewing approx. 3 other submissions for every submission they make. Academic sessions will also be reviewed by Expert Reviewers, whose review will contribute 50% to the final evaluation.
Within 12 thematic streams we will be discussing how to bring about change and how to build a believable future considering political strategies, cultural necessities, new alliances, values and more.
Please upload the title and abstract (250 words) of your presentation by 29th January 2023 here under the following thematic streams: