Ecofeminist Understandings of Care and Design for Sustainability Transitions: Towards a theoretical framework of work for the degrowth movement

Eeva Houtbeckers, İdil Gaziulusoy


The starting point of this paper is a recognition of the need for transitions to sustainability. This exploratory paper is a stepping stone for development of a theoretical framework for ways of imagining and acting upon ecofeminist degrowth futures based on design for sustainability transitions (DFST). The aim of the framework is to conceptualise the role paid and un(der)paid work in and for such transitions. In this paper, we bring together previous research of design for sustainability DFST, degrowth, and ecofeminist understandings of care as gendered work. With references to the multi-level perspective of system innovations, DFST investigates the niche socio-cultural practices and technologies to develop and analyse design scenarios for alternative futures using participatory approaches. Degrowth as a civic movement that challenges the continuous economic growth as a policy making goal, converges with DFST in its holistic understanding of a need for systemic change. Recent discussions in degrowth have called for taking into consideration questions of care, power, gender, class, ethnicity and inter-species interactions, which are at times overlooked in analyses. In order to do so, we draw upon ecofeminist philosophy, which highlights how the (mis)treatment of women is attached to the (mis)treatment of non-human/more-than-human nature.

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