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Scientific paper


Learning and building knowledge for degrowth: communities of practice and peer production across scales and beyond roles

Gualter Barbas Baptista

Entry type:
Scientific paper

Year of publication:

Degrowth Conference Leipzig 2014


communities of practice, nowtopias, peer production, postnormal science, open knowledge

Abstract: Projects and initiatives around degrowth are often too loose and disperse to be able to significantly develop learning processes and promote civic engagement in complex political issues. This paper argues that, while degrowth has the potential to bridge these movements, it requires a proper learning and knowledge building framework that contributes to advance knowledge and politicize or avoid depoliticization of the constellation of initiatives that have been described as nowtopias. Many of these degrowth-related nowtopias can actually be seen as communities of practice, but without a common framework their potential for mutual interaction, exchange and collaboration is reduced. Some intrinsic characteristics of the degrowth movement (reliance on the extended peer community, rather on the experts alone, to address the complex issues of sustainability; the diversity of its actors and contradictions of discourses, which create the appropriate terrain for a sustainability dialectics) make it an ideal candidate to benefit from the mechanisms of commons-based peer production of knowledge and connect the communities of practice across scales.

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