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Degrowth and technology

Together with European degrowth experts, Linda Nierling from ITAS has edited a special issue of the Journal of Cleaner Production - the first in-depth collection of the role of technology on the path to a viable and convivial future.
(Illustrated by Monika Rygálová and Kristýna Krejc ová, after a sketch by Christian Kerschner)

It is often assumed – partly also in the sustainability debate – that more technology leads to more economic growth, which in turn leads to more welfare and sustainability. With economic growth becoming ever more difficult and sustainability challenges ever more pressing, alternative post-growth and Degrowth discourses have gained momentum in the last decade. However, the role of technology on the path towards a ‘Degrowth Society’ is far from clear and subject to intense debate between enthusiasts and sceptics of technology.

This special issue of “Degrowth and Technology” published in the Journal of Cleaner Production presents the first overview of the diverse perspectives on the role and use of technology in the Degrowth community.

The contributions of this special issue co-edited by Linda Nierling suggest four research fields for a future “Degrowth and Technology” research agenda:

  1. theoretical and conceptual approaches,
  2. case studies of innovative socio-technical arrangements,
  3. evaluation of technologies according to their feasibility, viability, appropriateness and conviviality and
  4. and governance approaches.

Across these four research priorities, topics such as energy, agency and democratisation of technology play a central role in the debate.

Finally, the editors hope that this special issue can provide a sound basis for future research in this field. They also want to contribute to the development of a shared socio-technical imaginary of the role of technology in a post-growth society. (17.08.2018)

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