Conférence, Roma/online

Dispute series
09.11.2023 H14:30-18:45
10.11.2023 H10:30-18:00
Entrance: via Liguria 20


Dispute series
09.11.2023 H14:30-18:45
10.11.2023 H10:30-18:00
Entrance: via Liguria 20

The conference will be held in English at Istituto Svizzero in Rome and online. Simultaneous translation into Italian will be provided both on site and online. 

To attend in Rome on 09.11.2023, register here.
To attend in Rome on 10.11.2023, register here.

To follow online on 09.11.2023, register here.
To follow online on 10.11.2023, register here.

Istituto Svizzero
Via Liguria 20, Rome
Free entrance

LESS IS MORE: Imagining a good life beyond growth

The global environmental crisis is a fact. The urgent need for sustainable solutions to stop environmental damage is more pressing and ubiquitous than ever, and it’s clear that these solutions need to consider both social and environmental justice. While in theory there is a large societal consensus that action is needed within this decade, opinions vary as to what kind of changes are needed, and how to achieve them. In this context, research on ‘degrowth’ or ‘postgrowth’ plays an important role in various research fields and social movements, and forms the basis of a dynamic discussion about the potential and limits to growth.

While advocates of economic growth argue that the solution lies in technological innovation and market mechanisms and that without further growth there is no development and wealth, critics warn that ‘green growth’ is a narrative that is used to displace socio-ecological costs elsewhere, while technology is neither able to repair existent damages and lost resources nor to make people live happier and healthier lives. Degrowth ideas and practices demand to be sustainable both socially and environmentally.

Engaging with contemporary interdisciplinary research on ‘post-growth-societies’, Istituto Svizzero seeks to feature a debate on ‘the limits to growth’. This was the title of a report published by the Think Tank Club of Rome in 1972. In the context of the first environmental movement in the 1970ies it provoked a debate that is seeing a revival in recent academic fields and social movements. What does it take to transform our societies to achieve a more just distribution of resources and more resilient systems, today and for future generations? How can we imagine a good life beyond growth?

In collaboration with the University of Lausanne, the University of Ferrara and Harvard University.

Organizing board:
Dr. Maria Böhmer
Prof. Christian Arnsperger
Prof. Viviana Asara
Dr. Viktoria Cologna (SNSF postdoc mobility grant)

The event may be photographed and/or video recorded for archival, educational, and related promotional purposes. By attending this event, you are giving your consent to be photographed and/or video recorded.


Thursday 09.11.2023

H14:30 ― Welcome Coffee

H15:00 ― Opening and institutional greetings
Maria Böhmer
, Istituto Svizzero
Viviana Asara, Università di Ferrara
Viktoria Cologna, Harvard University (online)

H15:15-16:45 ― PANEL 1: ‘Limits to Growth’ today
Moderation: Christina Plank, Universität für Bodenkultur Wien

Matthias Schmelzer, University of Flensburg (online), From Limits to Growth to Degrowth and Beyond: Critical historical observations on social-ecological transformation
Julia Steinberger
, Institute of Geography and Sustainability, Université de Lausanne, Towards Sufficiency: measuring and modelling the energy for good lives within planetary boundaries
Ugo Bardi, Università di Firenze, member of Club of Rome, The Limits to Growth, 50 years later. Relevance and perspectives
Mamphela Ramphele, co-president Club of Rome, Cape town (online), What have we Learnt and Where to Now?

H16:15 ― Discussion

H16:45 ― Coffee Break

H17:15-18:45 ― PANEL 2: Welfare policies beyond growth
Moderation: Viviana Asara, Università di Ferrara

Matteo Villa, Università di Pisa, How to deal with the ecological paradoxes of welfare systems?
Margaret Haderer, Technische Universität Wien, From Expansive to Sufficient Habitation: A Socio-ecological Necessity, but also a Political Bogeyman
Roberto de Vogli, Università di Padova, Healthy de-growth beyond neoliberalism and economism
Manuela Zechner, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (online), Care beyond growth: between the public and the commons

H18:15  Discussion

H18:45 ― Aperitif

Friday 10.11.2023

H10:30 ― Welcome Coffee

H11:00-12:30 ― PANEL 3: Degrowth in practice
Moderation: Oxana Lopatina, University of Ferrara

Timothée Parrique, School of Economics and Management, Lund universitet (online), Nowtopian initiatives for degrowth
Irmi Seidl, Eidg. Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft WSL, Potentials of work to contribute to degrowth
Francesca Gabbriellini, University of Bologna, Rethinking growth and production from a working-class perspective: recovered enterprises for a just transition 
Giulio Mattioli, TU Dortmund University, Sustainable Transport and Degrowth: Unwitting Allies?

H12:00 ― Discussion

H12:30-14:30 ― Break

14:30-16:00 ― PANEL 4: Social movements and fields of action
Moderation: Leonard Creutzburg, Universität Zürich

Michel Cardito, Movimento per la Decrescita Felice, Degrowth trough Social Movements: Experiences from Italy and Europe
Anastasia Linn, Degrowth Switzerland, Degrowth Switzerland: Our Story So Far
Paola Imperatore, Università di Pisa, Territory and conflict: the role of local environmental justice movements within global challenges
Miriam Tola, John Cabot University, Rome, Feeling-thinking with social movements
Marzio Chirico, Fridays For Future, Rome, How climate movements can contribute to degrowth through climate justice?

H15:30 ― Discussion

H16:00 ― Coffee break

H16:30-18:00 ― PANEL 5: Where do we go from here? Future perspectives on Degrowth/Postgrowth in Europe
Moderation: Miriam Tola, John Cabot University, Rome

Onofrio Romano, Università Roma Tre, From ‘Go West’ to ‘Go Waste’. Towards a festive degrowth
Carlos Alvarez Pereira, Vice President Club of Rome, Regenerate the future for a second chance on Earth

Christina Plank, Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Degrowth & Strategy

H17:30 ― Discussion & Wrap-up

Speakers’ biographies here.