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Position paper

Why are feminist perspectives, analyses, and actions vital to degrowth?

Degrowth Journal


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Feminist analyses of the historical dynamics of gender systems are fundamental to the work of challenging growth-driven political economies, and of designing more equitable and balanced ecosocial systems. Feminist theories and methods that acknowledge and support diverse voices, knowledges, and practices are vital resources for building on heterodox degrowth movements. In dialogue with postcolonial, decolonial, indigenous, and anti-racist efforts, intersectional feminisms have been unlearning and disrupting conventional politics of knowing and action in ways that help forge more inclusive understandings and applications necessary for degrowth futures.

With the purpose of highlighting advances on these three fronts, this essay was co-written by participants in the Feminisms and Degrowth Alliance (FaDA), an inclusive network of activists and scholars that has supported an array of collaborative initiatives. FaDA's birthplace was the 5th International Conference on Degrowth in Budapest in 2016, where a surprisingly large turnout for the roundtable Degrowth and feminism(s): Conflicts, intersections, and convergences between two radical political movements motivated the establishment of the FaDA mailing list, our main means of communication. FaDA participation reflects the diversity of degrowth advocates in general: a 2017 survey (Iserlohn, 2018) revealed that members bring varying activist, academic, household, and professional experiences from wide-ranging contexts around the world. This essay is illuminated with examples from our own journeys toward more inclusive and mutual learning across languages, nationalities, cultures, gender identities, and time zones, all challenges engaged in the co-writing process. We celebrate the launching of the journal Degrowth as a convivial space for generating and exploring knowledge and practice from diverse perspectives. And we push the journal to realize its tremendous potential to foster synergies around feminisms and degrowth. The main part of this text explores powerful contributions from feminist thought and practice. We then identify a set of important issues and approaches advanced by feminisms and degrowth scholarship, and point to potential for further work along these lines. Our conclusions draw on histories of movement-building across diverse feminisms worldwide to strategize ways to strengthen degrowth alliances toward shared goals of emancipatory ecosocial transformation.

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