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Multiplying degrowth: alternatives to fast science 
Michelle Geraerts (University of Amsterdam, Worlds of Lithium ERC)
Corinne Lamain (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Shivani Kaul (University of Amsterdam)
Julien-François Gerber (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Yukari Sekine
Ana Victoria Portocarrero (KIT Royal Tropical Institute)
Daniela Calmon (International Institute of Social Studies)
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Oona Morrow (Wageningen University)
Emily Yates-Doerr (Oregon State University)
Combined Format Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Productivist university spaces promoting fast science approaches generate questionable research ethics. How might scholars working on planetary questions and degrowth slow down or demobilize their science in times of entangled racialized, colonial, heteropatriarchal, and anthropocentric emergencies?

Long Abstract:

As climate change accelerates, ecological economists, feminist economists, and economic anthropologists have amplified degrowth scholarship and put it on the scientific agenda. They argue the drive for perpetual growth organizes the extractivist global economy, precipitates ecological breakdown, and call for a different approach to sustainable ‘transitions’ (Hickel et al 2022). Scientifically, they urge for more research on ‘post-growth modes of living.’

STS scholars too increasingly observe the frictions between growth of the one-world world (Law 2015) and the flourishing of multiple modes of living as the pluriverse (Blaser and de la Cadena 2018, Kothari et al 2019). But they flag the ontological politics of conducting degrowth research with methods that repeat modernist binaries (Demmer and Hummel 2017), and observe that ethnographic tools might multiply worlds rather than reduce them under a new universal of degrowth (Kaul et al 2022).

STS-informed collectives also draw from Black Radical and psychoanalytic practices to reflect on how the tightening interdependence of science and industry continues to grip degrowth activists and academics (EmboDegrowth Lab 2021). One neoliberal response to complex unfolding sociopolitical catastrophes has been to mobilize scientific knowledge-making for industrial innovation towards targeted 'solutions’. The resulting productivist university spaces - with short-term project funding, multiple publication targets, and fast science approaches (Stengers 2018) - generate questionable research ethics that also contribute to academic workers’ personal experiences of alienation.

How might researchers working on planetary questions slow down or demobilize their science in a time of entangled racialized, colonial, heteropatriarchal, and anthropocentric emergencies? Should they? How might degrowth scholar-practitioners enact a world of many worlds with their scientific practices? In which languages? What might post-growth science taste like, sound like? In this Combined Format Open Panel, through embodied exercises and shared conversations, we collectively query the relationship between growth, degrowth, fast science, and inter-personal transformation.

Accepted contributions:

Session 1