Social Ecology Lecture, 23.5.2019

PANELDISCUSSION: Alternatives to the jobs vs environment dilemma. Degrowth and the Liberation of Work

After mounting evidence about the link between the ecological crisis and global GDP growth, the concept of degrowth aims to find alternatives to growth-oriented societies. The event critically reflects on the role of labour in such a transformation and the strategies to bridge the ‘jobs versus environment dilemma’. In her keynote, Stefania Barca will briefly review a number of critical social theories that have contributed to what is currently the main degrowth approach to labour – namely, the “liberation from work”. This emphasizes the need for reducing as much as possible production work in waged form while at the same time expanding autonomous reproduction and carework as key dimensions of a degrowth society. Since (in the current configuration of global capitalism) wage work is not going to go away anytime soon (and is actually increasing), this perspective has to be complemented by a “liberation of work” perspective. This could encompass three dimensions: labour and working-class environmentalism, an eco-socialist Just Transition, and workers’ control at the point of production. In the panel discussion, experts from research and the labour movement critically share strategies and experiences for common action. 

Welcome remarks 
Sigrid Stagl (Institute for Ecological Economics, Vienna University of Business and Economics)

Stefania Barca (Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra)
Stefania is a senior researcher at the University of Coimbra and an activist in the degrowth movement. Her current research bridges economic and environmental history, ecological and feminist economics as well as political ecology to analyse the environmental impact of industry in the Anthropocene, the relationship between labor and the environment, environmental justice, degrowth and commoning.

Florian Wukovitsch (Austrian Chamber of Labour)
Melanie Pichler (Institute of Social Ecology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna)
Ulrich Brand (Department of Political Science, University of Vienna) 

Halliki Kreinin (Institute for Ecological Economics, Vienna University of Business and Economics) 

Date: 23 May 2019, 6-8 pm 
Venue: WU Wien, D5.0.001 

The panel discussion is a joint event by the Institute of Social Ecology (BOKU Vienna), the Institute for Ecological Economics (WU Vienna), the Department of Political Science (University of Vienna) and the Austrian Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer). The event is part of the Social Ecology Lectures, the Institute for Ecological Economics Departmental lecture series, and a pre-event to the upcoming Degrowth Conference in Vienna.

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