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Memories and hunches of life otherwise: re-valuing rurality and subsistence for degrowth futures, learning from the Souths-within-the-North.

In this article I argue for a radical inclusion of rural areas and of subsistence-oriented economies in degrowth scholarship and proposals, exploring the potential of Southern European rural peripheries as starting points for envisioning socio-ecologically sustainable futures. I focus on bringing to the center of degrowth imaginaries several marginalized entities – reproductive work, rural areas, subsistence economies, and the Souths-within-the-North – creating bridges across different degrowth-aligned fields. Starting from the materialist ecofeminist contribution, I argue for revaluing a subsistence approach, and for degrowth to take seriously 'putting reproduction back at the center', drawing on Mies and the ‘Bielefeld school’. I then address the gap in degrowth scholarship in regard to the rural, which, even in critical studies, is persistently obscured by the urban. I thus mobilize rural geography to argue for a systematic inclusion of the countryside in degrowth ideas of the future, and draw on peasant and critical agrarian studies to revalue some common senses of peasant ‘moral’ economies. Lastly, I propose a revaluation of the Souths-within-the-North, focusing on Southern Italy and building on Cassano’s Southern Thought. These peripheries, always ‘lagging behind’ the North in the growth race, could be reinterpreted as the core of a different society, where subsistence common senses persist. The theoretical contribution is complemented by a case study from a rural ‘diffused’ community in Apulia, Italy. Finally, I propose potential degrowth policy areas and research paths to kick-start a renewed attention to the rural, and to envision a degrowth society truly reorganized around joyous sufficiency for all.


Day: 2023-08-31
Start time: 10:30
Duration: 00:15
Room: ZV-8-5
Type: Paper Presentation
Theme: Alternative economies


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