Version 3.2

Unleashing Fantasy for Transformation

Ursula K. Le Guin and the Power of Imagination

Building on the work of novelist Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) we explore the possibilities of Science Fiction and Fantasy for an “education of imagination” that is essential for a degrowth transition.
“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words”, said great novelist Ursula K. Le Guin in 2014. This artistic session considers Le Guin’s uniquely original work and explores her manifold connections to the degrowth discourse. The “education of imagination” (Le Guin) as well as the “education of desire“ (Miguel Abensour) are crucial in building degrowth societies. Unlike theoretical texts and discussions, fiction may directly widen the space of possible futures that we are able to imagine. Le Guin was a master in building worlds and writing speculative stories that depict societies who opted for other social structures then the current capitalist world system. She also wrote lucid essays on degrowth perspectives without mentioning the term, exploring feminist and anti-patriarchal perspectives, subsistence work, anarchy, Daoism and the general role of the imagination for societal change. Many feminist and postcolonial theoretics such as Donna Haraway or Bayo Akomolafe have built on her thoughts. In this artistic session, the five contributors – experienced degrowth scholars and publishers – will in a choreographed performance read passages from Le Guin’s work and contrast them with essayistic thoughts on degrowth topics such as (convivial) technology, gender, subsistence, commoning, and postcolonial practices. The audience will become imaginative contributors, too, developing and discussing their own speculative thoughts on possible degrowth futures.


Day: 2023-09-02
Start time: 10:00
Duration: 01:30
Room: CMR-park 1
Type: Non-academic Session
Theme: Artistic ecologies and eco-social practices


Concurrent Sessions