Contemporary societies face unprecedented ecological, social and economic crises that call for an immediate and radical transformation of the dominant, growth-dependent mode of production and living. Degrowth, as a social movement and a burgeoning academic field of research, has focused on conceptual discussions, concrete utopias and case studies for a social-ecological transformation. What is missing, however, is an in-depth discussion on the strategies to achieve such a transformation.

The conference will have a participatory design, including a thorough documentation process to generate tangible outcomes for the degrowth movement and research community. The conference consists of two main parts, firstly understanding past and future transformations and the role of strategies and secondly, strategies in practice.

The conference: structure & topics

Part 1: Transformations and the Role of Strategy

Part 1 of the conference seeks to explore transformation processes, theories of change and approaches to strategies (for degrowth). Contributions are welcome that focus on theories or concepts of (social-ecological) transformation, historical analyses of social change, or the role of strategy in transformation processes. The aim is to examine pathways, potentials, obstacles and leverage points for social change, and how strategies are developed to affect these transformations. Questions include, but are not limited to: What are the key insights from recent transformation research? How to account for uncertainty and complexity when formulating and evaluating strategies? What are the strategies of the ‘political opponent’, e.g. multinational corporations? What can be learned from successful or unsuccessful actors or ‘change agents’, e.g. social movements?

Part 2: Strategies in Practice

Part 2 of the conference will build on the theoretical and conceptual insights from Part 1. Part 2 brings together scholars, practitioners, artists, and activists of various thematic fields to collaboratively discuss and work on strategies towards degrowth in a more concrete manner. Contributions that present concrete strategies in thematic fields (e.g. mobility, food, energy, etc.) are desired to showcase the diversity of existing strategies for social ecological transformation. The aim is to also critically reflect on these strategies, to better understand obstacles and leverage points in different contexts, and, where possible, to further advance or develop existing strategies.

  • The conference will cover the following sectors and thematic fields in Parts 2. Please indicate your thematic focus in the submission. Important note: the thematic fields below are not exhaustive, please choose "Other" in the submission process for a field we have missed. Additionally, if your work on concrete strategies is non-field specific and more broad, e.g. strategies for policy interventions, then please choose the last option in this list.
  • mobility
  • food
  • energy
  • built environment & housing
  • work & production
  • health & care
  • technology & digitalisation
  • finance & money systems
  • global justice/North-South relations
  • diversity & social justice
  • other fields
  • non-field specific strategies (e.g. institutional change or policy interventions)

Forms of Contributions

We warmly invite scholars, practitioners, activists and artists to send proposals for one or more of the three different forms of contributions. Within these forms, different formats are welcome, and we would like to encourage you to develop the format which fits your purpose best. Each session lasts 90 minutes. 

Presentations have a frontal design and are limited to 10-15 minutes for each single contribution plus discussion on the topic. Each session will contain 3-4 contributions. In order to advance dialogue, we will structure these sessions according to the received contributions. Possible Formats: Individual paper sessions, poster presentations, special session, short movies, debate with contentious positions, performances, etc.

Requirements for submission:

(i) Title; (ii) Abstract (600-1200 words); and (iii) a short description of the contribution (max. 150 words).

Workshops should have a participatory design and last 90 minutes.
Possible formats: panel discussion, fishbowl, World Café, living libraries, theatrical performances, walking tours, manifestations and flash mobs, collective (mind)-mapping, Pro Action Café (encouraging activities and actions related to a concrete question), appreciative inquiry, etc.

Requirements for submission:

(i) Title; (ii) Detailed description of the format and content (600-1200 words) including a short description of materials, space requirements, and max. size of audience; (iii) short description of the workshop format and content (150 words). 

Consecutive Sessions include up to three 90-minute sessions within a specific thematic field of your choice. All consecutive sessions will be held on the day dedicated to strategies in practice (Part 2) . Your group or organisation can decide how to use the time and space to bring together various scholars and practitioners of the thematic field, to exchange, discuss and further develop strategies. Your role, as a group or organization, is both  concept development in advance and facilitation of these sessions , with support from the organising team of the conference. For example, if you’re an expert or civil society organisation working on urban mobility and want to convene practitioners and activists to consider strategies for leveraging ‘smart city’ policies in depth across three sessions then this is for you.

Requirements for submission: 

(i) Title; (ii) Detailed description of target group, possible formats and goal of the consecutive session (600-1200 words) including a short presentation of your civil society or scientific organisation, indication of possible financial or personnel support for session development, possible contacts and networks, clear objective of strategy development, and a short description of materials, space requirements, and max. size of audience; (iii) short description of the session’s target audience, your chosen format, and the goal of your sessions (200 words).

Find all the important information on the Call for Contributions here:
PDF Call for Contributions – to download

How to submit

We look forward to receiving your submission and would be happy if you spread this call widely. You can find the Call for Contributions submission form here, which will be online by November 1st.
If you have any questions about this process then please write us directly at
Please make your submissions before December 15th, 2019. Keep in mind, this conference has a thematic focus on strategies for degrowth, which requires that only submissions closely related to this theme can be accepted.

  • Hosting institutes and organisations (as of October 2019)
  • Degrowth Vienna - Verein zur Förderung der Degrowth-Bewegung
  • Department of Political Science at University of Vienna
  • Institute for Multi-Level Governance and Development at WU Vienna
  • Department for Social Design - Arts as Urban Innovation at University of Applied Arts Vienna
  • Institute of Social Ecology at University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
  • Institute for Ecological Economics at WU Vienna

Please register on the submission site!