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The state, class inequalities, and their affective reverberations: considerations for a degrowth transition

This talk is inspired by stories collected over the last decade as part of several research projects based in Croatia. These are stories of everyday hardship told by people who eat in soup-kitchens, stories about persisting to work in civil society organisations in a political context antagonistic to CSO advocacy, stories told by owners of small businesses about their struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic, and stories of post-disaster recovery recalled by residents traumatised by flooding in rural Croatia. Emerging from these are three inter-related themes relevant for reflections on a degrowth transition: the contentious role of the state, the pang of class inequalities and their intersections, and cross-cutting affective reverberations. Indeed, both the role of the state and class inequalities have been characterised fairly recently as “gaps in the degrowth literature”. In order to unpick these three themes, I draw on voices with memories of socialism that are counter-hegemonic to contemporary expectations, and underline marginalized voices, especially those of the disempowered poor. In light of this, the overall intention of the talk is to expand our perspective on the constraints and affordances that define our shared aspiration to transition to a degrowth society.

Dr. Karin Doolan is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Zadar. She holds an MPhil and PhD degree in sociology of education from the University of Cambridge. Following her MPhil degree she completed a programme in Democracy and Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science and after completing her PhD was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute.

Her teaching activities are rooted in critical and engaged pedagogy, and she conducts research on the interface between social class inequalities, education and disaster events. She led an inter-disciplinary team of researchers who revitalised social class analysis in Croatia following a hiatus going back to the end of socialist times. Her most recent project work has explored the micro-politics of schools in disaster contexts and social resilience in the midst and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the years her interlocutors have come from diverse backgrounds, including people eating in soup kitchens, teachers in communities recovering from floods or earthquakes and activists for the public good. Such research has fostered valuable, multiple perspectives on the political, social and economic dynamics that frame people’s everyday lives.


Day: 2023-09-01
Start time: 09:00
Duration: 01:00
Room: ZV-KC-1
Type: Special Session
Theme: Keynote


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