Pluto Press (London), August 2020
ISBN: 9780745342023 Pb — £16.99
ISBN: 9781786807601 eBook — £9.99
ISBN: 9781786807601 Hardcover, with free eBook — £75.00
Written by spokesperson for the French and international degrowth movements Vincent Liegey and Australian degrowth activist-scholar Anitra Nelson
In the Foreword Jason Hickel, economic anthropologist (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK), writes:
The key thing is to recognize that we already live in an abundant economy. The problem isn’t that there’s not enough for everyone to flourish, the problem is that it’s all captured at the top. We can improve people’s lives right now, without any growth at all, simply by sharing what we already have more fairly and investing in public goods. Equity is the antidote to the growth imperative.
Of course, all of this leaves us with a million questions. What does a such an economy look like? How does it work? How do we get there? The book you hold in your hands traces a path through this thicket, and paints a picture of the new economy that lies ahead – an economy that enables human flourishing for all within planetary boundaries.
This book is the perfect introduction to the burgeoning intellectual and activist movement of degrowth. Short, crisp and provocative, this is the place to begin if you want to know more about degrowth. Giorgos Kallis, Limits (2019)
A superbly written reflection on degrowth politics — from 20th century intellectual origins to 21st century action agendas. Be sure to add it to your list!” Ariel Salleh, Eco-Sufficiency and Global Justice (ed. 2009)
Everyone knows we can’t go on like this. As the world lurches from crisis to crisis, Exploring Degrowth outlines alternatives to a capitalism that expands like a cancer. Vincent Liegey and Anitra Nelson provide a lively and accessible introduction to the ideas, theorists and controversies associated with degrowth, in a book relevant to both scholars and activists. Jeff Sparrow, author, journalist, The Guardian columnist
Now is the time to break. With capital, with labour, with development, with quantitative growth. This is an excellent introduction to the degrowth perspective, an important contribution to an urgent debate. John Holloway, Change the World Without Taking Power (2002), Crack Capitalism (2010)
Exploring Degrowth is a short introduction to the movement — an engaging read and excellent explanation of its various, sometimes contradictory tendencies … Liegey and Nelson set out a detailed pathway by which the degrowth movement might shape postcapitalist society. Terry Leahy, ‘Degrowth’, Arena Quarterly 4: Re-Worlding: A Post-Pandemic Future, pp. 95–98
Overall, the book fullfils the promise evoked by its title. It takes the reader along an exploration into the field of degrowth from the perspective of two well-established scholars and their experience especially in Europe and Australia. The writing benefits from the close relation to activist practices and community initiatives. It outlines historical roots and contemporary contradictions as well as the positive value of degrowth for tackling a global crisis on a finite planet. It also includes a short glossary with key terms of the book from autonomy, commons, municipalism, post-development to transhumanism. However, it is also an activist book that takes a clear stance on the degrowth movement, positions it as a solution to manifold problems and locates the author’s own proposal – the ‘unconditional autonomy allowance’ as a core concern emerging from degrowth. From the site of Christian Lamker — book review
Overall, this book will be of interest to a broad and diverse readership because of its pedagogical, intellectual and activist potential … The book will be particularly useful for scholars seeking to grasp the main concepts and map these ongoing debates … educators will appreciate the opportunity to present more provocative ideas to our students. Exploring Degrowth references various schools of thoughts and provides practical examples. It will be a precious resource to structure classroom discussions and introduce students to these debates… I see the main value of the book as offering a quick synthesis of the concepts as used by activists within the degrowth movement. Book review by Alban Ouahab in journal Organization (2021)
The unique contributions of Exploring Degrowth are clear in its subtitle: A Critical Guide. Liegey and Nelson guide readers through intellectual histories in which critical theory is applied to society, culture, and thought to reveal and challenge power structures. In the process, they make these emancipatory traditions relevant to contemporary ecosocial challenges … The book as a whole, and particularly chapter 2, masterfully communicates decolonial concerns central to degrowth since its earliest expressions … Heightened awareness of their historical positions at the heart of colonizing growth has led Europeans, European settlers, and other privileged advocates to work on decolonizing their own minds and desires, and curbed ambitions to impose one universal vision of degrowth on differently positioned others. This book walks the talk … the book reshuffles dominant configurations of power and knowledge. Book review by Susan Paulson (University of Florida) in Environment and Society 12(1) (2021).
Front Matter (lists of figures and boxes, acknowledgments, glossary)
Foreword by Jason Hickel
1 Introduction: Exploring ‘Degrowth’
2 Decolonising Our Growth Imaginaries
3 Degrowth in Practice
4 Political Strategies for Degrowth
5 The Degrowth Project: A Work in Progress
Selected Further Reading and Links
Associated articles, reviews and posts
- Referred to by Geoff Mann in ‘Reversing the freight train‘, London Review of Books, 44(16), 18 August 2022 subsequently appearing in Spanish as Geoff Man, ‘Darle la vuelta a la ecuasión‘ Brecha, edn 1939, 20 January 2023
- Anitra Nelson and Vincent Leigey, ‘These technologies help you live lightly on a fragile planet‘, Scientific American, 11 October 2022.
- Victor Martinez, Future Xplorations Interview with Anitra Nelson on Degrowth — https://anchor.fm/futurexplorations/episodes/Degrowth—Dr–Anitra-Nelson-e1l4kk3
- Anitra Nelson ‘Degrowth projects help llocalise economies, meet communities’ basic needs‘ The Energy Mix 10 July (for 350info and Covering Climate Now’s joint coverage week on Food & Water).
- Anitra Nelson ‘How degrowth approaches can provide quality products, help local economies and drive sustainability‘ in Bright Green: Independent Media for Radical, Democratic, Green Movements, 28 June 2022 (for 350info and Covering Climate Now’s joint coverage week on Food & Water).
- Anitra Nelson and Vincent Liegey ‘Work for Degrowth‘ in Green Agenda #2/2022.
- Anitra Nelson interviewed by Victor Martinez on degrowth and postcapitalism for YouTube channel FutureXplorations, a series offering diverse perspectives on change, limits, humans and earth (to be posted 11 July 2022).
- Susan Paulson (University of Florida), book review in Environment and Society 12(1) (2021).
- Vincent Liegey and Anitra Nelson, ‘A degrowth celebratory message‘, 13 September 2021, Degrowth.info.
- Vincent Liegey interviewed by Mathilde Goupil, ‘L’article à lire pour tout comprendre à la décroissance, prônée par certains candidats à la primaire écologiste‘ FranceTVinfo (in French).
- Alan Ouahab, ‘Book Review of Exploring Degrowth (Liegey and Nelson, 2020)‘, Organization, online first 10 July 2021
- Molly Scott Cato, ‘Growing pains‘, review in Resurgence & Ecologist 326 (Building Back Hope, May–June 2021), pp. 58–9.
- Christian Lamker, ‘Degrowth: an invitation to explore and navigate‘ book review in Rooilijin, 19 May 2021.
- Zoltán Bajmóc, ‘Nemnövekedés: a fenntarthatósági átmenet pozitív vízója. Vincent Liegey, Anitra Nelson (2020): Exploring degrowth. A critical guide‘, Tér és Társadalom, 35(1), pp. 167–70, February 2021, DOI 10.17649/TET.35.1.3340.
- Dermot Smyth, ‘Exploring Degrowth: A Critical Guide’ [book review], Socialist Review 463, December 2020
- Bright Green editors compiled a resource guide to degrowth in which our book is one of five recommended and our Pluto Press post on degrowth principles is one of five select articles, see here
- Review article — Terry Leahy, ‘Degrowth’, Arena Quarterly 4: Re-worlding: A Post-Pandemic Future, pp. 95–98.
- ‘‘, Interview with Vincent Liegey and Anitra Nelson by Ben Smoke in Huck magazine 22 September 2020
- ‘Four principles of degrowth‘ by Anitra Nelson and Vincent Liegey at the Pluto Press blog
- ‘Covid-19: Capitalist and postcapitalist perspectives‘ by Anitra Nelson in the Special Symposium on Pandemic Capitalism special issue of Human Geography — OnlineFirst free access
- ‘Democratic crisis and degrowth‘ by Anitra Nelson and Vincent Liegey in Demos #10 (July) Crisis special issue
- Open Democracy article ‘Limit growth: Liberate degrowth‘, 18 May by Anitra Nelson and Vincent Liegey
- The Ecologist article ‘Coronavirus and degrowth‘, 3 April by Anitra Nelson and Vincent Liegey
- See this French site by Vincent Liegey et al. with certain English translations: http://www.projet-decroissance.net/
Past event videos and media
See future events here
- Anitra Nelson keynote talk at the World Wise Global Schools (WWGS) National Teacher Conference 27 January 202, an online event with recording and other resources available here
- Vincent Liegey and Anitra Nelson, Marxist Education Project (NYC), on Exploring Degrowth as the second event in the FireWorks series on 7 February 2021, video here
- Podcast interview by Paul Walker-Emig with Vincent Liegey and Anitra Nelson on Utopian Horizons, 4 December 2020, here.
- Vincent Liegey and others in The Great Degrowth Debate 16 November 2020 exploring three 2020 publications on degrowth.
- Anitra Nelson and Vincent Liegey discussing postcapitalism in FireWorks series books Exploring Degrowth: A Critical Guide and Pandemic Solidarity: Mutual Aid during the Covid-19 Crisis. SEARCH Foundation, 28 October 2020 — recording.
- Climate Conversations, Robert Mclean: ‘Anitra Nelson takes us on a journey through degrowth’, 21 October 2020 — here.
- Degrowth in Central Victoria — Anitra Nelson and Patrick Jones in conversation on Exploring Growth: A Critical Guide and local degrowth activities, Goldfields Library (Central Victoria, Australia), 8 October 2020, video recording here
- Európa Pont, European Culture House informing European Parliament, European Commission (EU) — event with Vincent Liegey, 30 September 2020. (Budapest Millenium Park hosts such informational and cultural events). Video recording (Czech) here.
- Anitra Nelson in conversation with Boris Frankel in MSSI event Degrowth, Solidarity and the Welfare State, University of Melbourne with Q&A, 30 September 2020, 60 mins recording here
- Michael Bayliss interviews Anitra Nelson on degrowth and more 16 September 2020, for the Post-Growth Australia Podcast: https://pgap.fireside.fm/degrowth
- Ashish Kothari (Global Tapestry of Alternatives) interviews Vincent Liegey and Anitra Nelson with participant Q&A in the 90min recorded Zoom session 28 August 2020: https://globaltapestryofalternatives.org/webinars:10
- Vincent Liegey and Anitra Nelson in panel launching Crisis issue of Demos #10 re article (above). 30 June 2020.
- Vincent Liegey and Anitra Nelson ‘In Conversation on Exploring Degrowth‘ on 6 June, Global Degrowth Day — Good Life for All, 11.00 CET (19:00 AEST) — 10mins preview video here — 90min YouTube video here
- Degrowth Vienna 2020 Conference: Strategies for Social–Ecological Transformation, 29 May–1 June. Vincent Liegey and Anitra Nelson on how and why Exploring Degrowth was written and strategies for establishing degrowth — short video preview
This book appears in the FireWorks series
Read more on FireWorks here
Note too, the Marxist Education Project FireWorks series 2021: https://marxedproject.org/event/the-pluto-fireworks-series/2021-01-23/