Degrowth & Strategy


how to bring about social-ecological transformation

edited by Nathan Barlow, Livia Regen, Noémie Cadiou, Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Max Hollweg, Christina Plank, Merle Schulken and Verena Wolf

Published now!

The book has been released!

Get a free PDF from our open access publisher MayFly


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Degrowth & Strategy: how to bring about social-ecological transformation is a forthcoming collected volume published with Mayfly Books under a Creative Commons license. The book includes over fifty authors from the degrowth community and beyond. The book is a project of Degrowth Vienna as a follow up to the conference Degrowth Vienna 2020: Strategies for Social-Ecological Transformation. It highlights the importance of engaging with strategy in the degrowth movement, builds on contributions from the Degrowth Vienna 2020 Conference, and strives to provide a meaningful addition to the existing literature on degrowth and related struggles for social and ecological justice.

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The book in a nutshell:

Degrowth is a counter-hegemonic movement that has the ambitious aim of transforming society towards social and ecological justice.

But how do we get there?

That is the question this book addresses. Adhering to the multiplicity of degrowth whilst also arguing that strategic prioritisation and coordination are key, Degrowth & Strategy advances the debate on strategy for social-ecological transformation. It explores what strategising means, identifies key directions for the degrowth movement, and scrutinises strategies in practice that aim to realise a degrowth society.
Bringing together voices from degrowth and related movements, this book creates a polyphony for change going beyond the sum of its parts.


Praise for the book

"This book is what the degrowth movement needed the most: a well–reasoned and empirically grounded compendium of strategic thinking and praxis for systemic transformations. This is a true gift, not only to degrowthers, but to all those who understand the need for radical change. In an era of unprecedented challenges as the one we are living through, this book should become essential reading in every higher–education course across the social sciences and humanities." Stefania Barca, University of Santiago de Compostela, author of Forces of Reproduction - Notes for a Counterhegemonic Anthropocene
Stefania Barca
University of Santiago de Compostela, author of Forces of Reproduction - Notes for a Counterhegemonic Anthropocene
Emerging amidst the ruins of the destroyed (some call it developed) world, degrowth is a powerful call for transformation towards justice and sustainability. This book takes degrowth’s ideological basis towards strategy and practice, relates it to other movements, and shows pathways that are crucial for the Global North to take if life on earth has to flourish again.
Ashish Kothari
co–author of Pluriverse: A Post–Development Dictionary
"In contrast to previous works on the topic the focus is firmly placed on the challenge of how to achieve social–ecological transformation in the face of economic structures and powerful vested interests committed to a utopian vision of sustaining economic growth without end; a vision that pretends to be concerned for the poor while exploiting them and destroying Nature.  An alternative multi–faceted vision is outlined in the most comprehensive exploration of the topic available, including addressing the role of money, mobility, energy, food, technology, housing, and most importantly how to change modernity’s various growth–obsessed social–economic systems."
Clive Spash
Vienna University of Economics and Business, editor of Handbook of Ecological Economics: Nature & Society
"The book is an exciting source of hope for degrowth futures. It is a thoroughly readable and ambitious book that sets out what degrowth wants to do and what it is actually achieving. It contains many inspiring examples of new ways of living together, illustrating how to share resources, create caring institutions, fair infrastructures, and new ways of relating to humans and more–than–humans."
Wendy Harcourt,
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam
"We live in times of great despair and danger, but also great promise. This book is the perfect gateway to strategy and action for our time, written by some of the very top thinkers in the degrowth movement. It will help you create possibilities to transform our world for the better."
Julia Steinberger
University of Lausanne
"This is a book everyone in the degrowth community has been waiting for. Moving beyond the diagnosis about the costs and limits of growth, this volume asks the question of what is to be done and puts forward an ambitious political program of how we go from here to there. The authors present a coherent vision of how different mobilizations at different scales can come together and steer societies to what now seems politically impossible – degrowth'."  
Giorgos Kallis
ICREA Professor, ICTA–UAB, author of Limits and The Case for Degrowth
"What is to be done about the Global North? Young economists of the degrowth generation share strategies on food, housing, energy, transport, technology, and money. Practical, stimulating, and provocative."
Ariel Salleh
author of Eco–Sufficiency & Global Justice
"How do we go from here to there? Read this book and you will find how societies can undertake a transformation towards degrowth."
Federico Demaria
University of Barcelona, co–author of The Case for Degrowth
"Degrowth & Strategy is an important collection of essays on a subject of the greatest significance and urgency. Particularly impressive is the emphasis on public communication, workable political strategies and practical solutions."
Amitav Ghosh
author of The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable
"Above all, Degrowth & Strategy is a work of revolutionary optimism. The range of visions offered in this text teaches us that we are better off finding a common ground in our strategies and tactics than dwelling on our differences, so that we may step into the future together. With this text, the degrowth movement shifts its central focus from the what and the why to the how. Be warned: this is for those to whom degrowth is an everyday commitment and not a mere thought exercise!"
Jamie Tyberg 
co-founder and member of DegrowNYC
"Degrowth & Strategy is an important collection of essays on a subject of the greatest significance and urgency. Particularly impressive is the emphasis on public communication, workable political strategies and practical solutions."
Amitav Ghosh
author of The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable
"The most critical challenge is implementing degrowth – to ensure that production and consumption meet basic needs, neither more (waste) nor less (poverty). This collection confronts strategy head–on, with a singular unity of purpose and a rich variety of approaches. A must–read for all concerned about our uncertain future."
Anitra Nelson
University of Melbourne (Australia), co–author of Exploring Degrowth, and co–editor of Food for Degrowth and Housing for Degrowth
"This book makes a timely and essential contribution to a number of intersecting debates regarding the how of social–ecological transformation. Expertly edited, the book’s emphasis on philosophies, struggles and strategies in more 'in principle' terms complements very effectively the consideration of concrete practices across a wide range of societal sites and sectors. A must–read for scholars and activists alike."
Ian Bruff
University of Manchester
"That we need to move to a degrowth economy is becoming ever more obvious. How we go about achieving it has hitherto been less clear, and less discussed in degrowth literature. This comprehensive and astute survey of transformative strategies, both those already in train and those that need to come into force, provides an essential guide."
Kate Soper
London Metropolitan University
"Nothing grows forever, and the same is true of economies. In this urgently needed book, an impressive group of academics and activists consider how we get to an economic system that operates within natural limits and with regard to social justice. Illustrated with inspiring case studies, the authors focus on the how, because the planet and our natural world are already showing us the why."
Martin Parker
Bristol University, author of 'Shut Down the Business School
"The structural, cultural and ideational barriers to degrowth have long been recognised by its advocates. Contributors to this collection respond to the challenges positively and creatively by thinking about strategy and how this concept can be harnessed by diverse social movements to initiate, inspire and institute bottom–up social–ecological change."
Ruth Kinna
Loughborough University
"We need to go beyond envisioning degrowth but identify pathways towards it. This is the first book that provides a comprehensive and in–depth engagement with strategies for degrowth, definitely leading us closer to a degrowth future. Required reading for anyone who aims to realize degrowth."
Jin Xue
Norwegian University of Life Sciences
"The Western growth model becomes increasingly untenable as a societal project, thereby urging communities, researchers, and decision–makers to find alternative pathways. To guide us through these turbulent times and towards a future beyond growth, the authors of Degrowth & Strategy provide a much–needed map – unprecedented in detail but also aware of the yet unknown."
Benedikt Schmid
Geography of global change, Albert–Ludwigs–Universität Freiburg
"How can we better organize to achieve social and ecological justice in a finite world? This is a big question with no easy answer. In an honest and thoughtful way, this book brings multiple voices expressing diverse pathways to pursue social–ecological transformation. What emerges from the presentation of different perspectives and strategies is not the suggestion of one right way to bring about change but a healthy, pluralistic, thought–provoking and respectful dialogue that can lead us in new and promising directions."
Ana Maria Peredo
Professor of Social and Inclusive Entrepreneurship, University of Ottawa. Former Director Centre for Co–operative and Community–Based Economies, University of Victoria (Canada)
"In my classes, students keep circling back to the question – how do we move from the current world driven by the logic of capital, endless growth, needless production and consumption to a world that centres on justice, care, and living well in a way that amplifies life? This book offers what so many of us are craving for – thought–provoking engagement with the issue of strategies for materialising social–ecological transformation. Positing strategy as a dynamic concept that is more than a mere plan or a list of steps, but a set of considerations that are adaptive, fluid, and emergent – thus responding to changing conditions and actions of other actors – the book offers theoretical frameworks, pathways, and practical examples of diverse strategies for social–ecological transformations at work. It will be of interest to academics, activists, practitioners, and ordinary people striving for an equitable and sustainable world. I am grateful to the editors and authors for creating this excellent resource for thinking and acting to facilitate a 'strategic assemblage for degrowth'."
Neera Singh
Associate Professor, Geography & Planning, University of Toronto



Dissens Podcast
Wie kommt die Idee vom guten Leben raus aus der Nische?

Wir wollen eine sozial-ökologische Transformation – aber wie kommen wir dorthin? Der Sammelband „Degrowth und Strategie“ bringt zu dieser Frage Stimmen aus Bewegungen und Wissenschaft zusammen. Ein Gespräch mit den Co-Autor*innen Merle Schulken und Ulrich Brand.

>> listen to this episode

Economics for Rebels
The road ahead: strategies for socio-economic transformation

In this „Economics for Rebels“ episode, Ekaterina Chertkovskaya depicts a convincing strategic canvas for degrowth. In her interview here with Alexandra Köves they discuss the book in more detail and dive into the anti-capitalist strategic framework of Erik Olin Wright.

>> listen to this episode

Economics for Rebels
Transforming batshit jobs

In this „Economics for Rebels“ episode, Halliki Kreinin and Tahir Latif draw upon the chapter  about the just transition in the aviation sector they co-authored in the book Together with Alexandra Köves, they discuss how to transform work that prioritizes short term profit over sustainability, the so-called „batshit jobs“, while providing equitable conditions for those employed in it. 

>> listen to this episode

Postcapitalism podcast
Matthias Schmelzer, Nina Treu, and Tonny Nowshin on degrowth, nowtopias, and the pluriverse

In this episode, Tonny Nowshin, Nina Treu and Matthias Schmelzer join the postcapitalism podcast to talk about the possible strategic development of the degrowth movement, nowtopias and the concept of the pluriverse. The focal point is the discussion of their book chapter dealing with what degrowth can learn from other social movements and struggles for social-ecological transformation.

>> listen to this episode

She Drives Mobility
How to degrowth the transport sector

On this „She Drives Mobility“ episode, John Szabo discusses with Katja Diehl about the chapter about mobility and transport that he co-authored with Thomas Smith and Leon Leuser in the book. The episode tackles questions of degrowth transformation in the mobility sector and investigates different directions, from technology based scenarios, to others that question mobility in itself.

>> listen to this episode

Solacene Podcast
Degrowth & Strategy: how to bring about social-ecological transformation

In this episode, Nathan Barlow and Livia Regen, the two coordinators of Degrowth & Strategy, speak with hosts Aaron and Alicia about the challenges of coordinating such a big project over the last two years, the small successes along the way, and some reflections on the book’s key messages.

>> listen to this episode

This is Hell!
Strategic Entanglements

Susan Paulson joins the US-based radio show and podcast, This is Hell!, to discuss her chapter on the potential of strategic entanglements! They explore how thinking about strategy from a quantum perspective can illuminate the role of intentional plurality when strategizing and how to mindfully form allies for a transformative project like degrowth.

>> listen to this episode

Was tun? Der Podcast
So kann die Postwachstumsbewegung mächtiger werden 

„Degrowth by Design – not by Desaster!“ – so lautet der Slogan der Postwachstumsbewegung. Doch trotz der eskalierenden Klimakrise, Dürren, Waldbränden und Überflutungen sind ihre Forderungen nach einer Rücknahme des Wirtschaftswachstums im medialen und politischen Diskurs kaum präsent. Im Interview diskutieren wir mit Matthias Schmelzer und Nina Treu vom Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie darüber, was es braucht, um das zu ändern und fragen: Was tun?

>> listen to this episode

Listen to all podcasts on our Spotify playlist:


BLOG POSTS – 27.07.2022

Degrowth & Strategy is released!

In a previous article you may have read about the book Degrowth & Strategy; it was still a work in progress then and we were reaching out for financial support. Today, July 27th 2022, the collected volume Degrowth & Strategy: how to bring about social-ecological transformation is finally out….

>> read more


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