Publications


Collective works.


Working papers

.Building Transition by Social Innovation: The Case of the Drome Valley, O. De Schutter, S. Bui, I. Cassiers, T. Dedeurwaerdere, B. Galand, H. Jeanmart, M. Nyssens et E.Verhaegen.
Download full text (in French) : "Construire la Transition par l'innovation locale : le cas de la Vallée de la Drôme".

    Abstract:
    The ecological and social transition can be conceived as operating from the top: guided by the State, through legal regulations and economic incentives, and by planning tools, to move to a low-carbon society. It can also be thought of as the result of local initiatives in the areas of food, energy, or mobility, wherein (groups of) persons create solutions from various motivations and in specific contexts, relying on local material resources and know-hows. In this paper, we analyze the changes in the Drôme valley, a territory of 54,000 inhabitants, where a large number of such initiatives have developed in the last few years and where – among others – a major local sustainable development programme called Biovallée is implemented. Taking the Drôme valley as our departure point, we seek to explore the factors that could foster ecological and social transition from local initiatives, as well as the challenges and obstacles encountered. Taking into account its historical context and the geographic and demographic characteristics, we seek to identify the conditions which supported territory-based transition in this laboratory region. Our analysis highlights (i) the role of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations leading individuals to engage in social innovations ; (ii) the governance mechansisms and the networking that favored the emergence of shared values and visions allowing a shift in social norms ; and (iii) the new grammar of public action required by this emerging conception of transition and the new tools that public authorities can deploy to make it happen.

.La cage et le labyrinthe : s'évader de la religion de la croissance, Olivier De Schutter.
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    Abstract
    L'hypothèse que je propose est que la situation dont nous héritons est le résultat d'une interaction entre des changements de comportement dans le chef de l'individu et des réponses à ces comportements qui se présentent à l'échelle sociétale. J'évoque très sommairement les termes de cette interaction, qui définit la nature de la cage dans laquelle nous sommes enfermés. Je mets en avant ensuite une seconde caractéristique de la situation dont nous héritons : si, au sein d'une petite fraction de l'opinion, les impasses liées à la poursuite de la croissance économique commencent à être reconnues, les moyens de sortir de ces impasses demeurent vagues et contestés. Nous sommes prisonniers d'un système hérité, et bien qu'un nombre de plus en plus important de gens comprennent la nécessité de s'en évader, ils sont en désaccord sur les voies de sortie. Ceci ne doit pas être vu comme un problème, mais plutôt comme une promesse. L'on ne sort de la cage qu'en acceptant que la question de la transition suppose une pluralité de solutions, et l'encouragement à la recherche de plusieurs voies de sortie. Nous sommes dans une cage sans doute, mais non pas prisonniers d'un labyrinthe qui n'autoriserait qu'une voie de sortie : c'est à partir de cette double caractéristique que l'on peut réfléchir les dispositifs de gouvernance à instituer pour préparer une société de post-croissance.

.The Cage and the Labyrinth: Escaping the Addiction to Growth, Olivier De Schutter.
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    Abstract
    The impasse we encounter as we try to define the contours of a post-growth economy is the product of an interaction between behavioral changes at the level of the individual, wired to develop an "acquisitive mentality", and the responses to such changes at societal level, which reinforce that mentality and encourage acquisitiveness as a survival strategy for the individual in an environment that puts competition above cooperation. Moreover, although a small but growing part of opinion ackowledges the limits to growth, the means through which to steer society in a different direction remain vague and contested. These two constraints impede our ability to move away from the inherited system. The collective action problem posed by the need to move beyond growth, however, can also be seen as a promise. For we can only escape the cage by recognizing that the transition calls for a plurality of solutions, because there are a number of ways to unlock the system. We are in a cage, perhaps; but we are not in a labyrinth that would only allow for one escape route: it is building on the double predicament that we can imagine governance tools through which the post-growth can emerge.

Transdisciplinary research briefs series