SEEDS OF DEGROWTH IN THE SOUTH?
LEARNING FROM THE PRACTICES AND STRUGGLES OF SOUTHERN AFRICAN SEED SAVERS
Too often, within the framework of global theoretical and political debates, feminist, decolonial and antiracist ideas are presented as static and removed from the particular regional or national contexts in which they emerge from. Analytical perspectives and political proposals that do not take into account the many and considerable economic, institutional, social and cultural differences between the North and the South of the world are prone to a romanticisation of the concept of degrowth that undermines its transformative and emancipatory potential.
This session proposes an in-depth discussion of the meaning of degrowth in the South grounded on the analysis of practices and struggles of seed savers active in the Rural Women’s Assembly (RWA), a Southern African social movement present in seven countries: Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. RWA and other African rural movements have resisted seed capture for many years in the context of broader struggles aimed at generating people-driven alternatives around food sovereignty, agroecology, land reform and the right to food.
The session will draw on the outcomes of an ongoing feminist and non-extractive research initiative led by RWA members, focusing on indigenous knowledge systems, land ownership, gender relations, local food systems and intellectual property rights, among other topics.
The proposal also implies bridging the epistemological divide between “academic” and “non-academic” presentations around which the Degrowth Conference is structured. Even though three social scientists are proposing this session, it will be based on the active engagement of seed savers from the Rural Women’s Assembly.
Start time: 10:00
Type: Special Session
Theme: Feminist, decolonial, anti-racist and anti-ableist ecologies