Building Alternative Livelihoods
in Times of Ecological and Political Crisis

International Online Joint Conference of the international degrowth research networks, the International Society for Ecological Economics, and the European Society for Ecological Economics, hosted by University of Manchester, UK,

July 5-8, 2021

All  Abstracts already submitted will be reviewed for the conference if you have confirmed your intention to participate.  All special session proposals have already been accepted and will remain in the system unless you choose to withdraw them.  If you wish to revise your previously submitted  abstract, please let us know. Deadline for new and revised submissions: March 7, 2021- if this presents a difficulty, email us at:


Submissions must be made via the Scriptum platform at:

A virtual conference inevitably means the conference will be less tied to our regional location and its agendas.  However, we are reviewing options for continued exploration of conference themes here in Manchester, including via arts and activist elements and possible follow up events.

Building Alternative Livelihoods in times of political and ecological crisis is the overarching theme of the conference. Economic systems have always co-evolved with social, environmental, and technological systems. The worsening ecological and climate crisis means we must urgently abandon practices of production and consumption associated with ecological degradation or relying on unsustainable extractivism. We must develop alternative livelihoods that are harmonious with planetary limits and safeguard material living conditions.  We must invent and trial new ways of working, providing for everyone’s needs, caring for each other, and democratising the economy. We must seek clarity about the systems of provisioning which will be utilised in a society beyond growth where states and markets play more peripheral roles in the allocation of resources. In short, we must ask what are the alternative livelihoods which ensure the future conditions of societal wellbeing.

The construction of alternative livelihoods entails a radical transformation of economy, culture, and society. What are the institutional arrangements which safely provide for basic needs, social stability, and democratic legitimacy in the transition to environmental sustainability? How can both social justice and ecological justice for the populations of the Global North and the Global South be ensured? How can political support be mobilised for the necessary transformations? How can a socially just transition to environmental sustainability be made politically viable and democratically legitimate?

We list below some of the topics that the conference will cover. We also look forward to ideas beyond these, which would expand the geographical and thematic scope of degrowth and ecological economics, as well as advance and further substantiate current  ​debates in these fields.

  1. The economy beyond states and markets

  2. The future of employment, work and care

  3. Debates on degrowth, green growth, the circular economy, and decoupling

  4. Forms of decommodification and non-capitalist modes of resource allocation

  5. The democratisation of the economy and alternative models and forms of organisation

  6. The production and conservation of energy

  7. Low carbon and low energy futures

  8. Commoning resources

  9. Money, debt and the financial system

  10. Monetary and non-monetary measures of prosperity and well-being

  11. A universal basic income or universal basic services

  12. The green new deal, degrowth, and ecological economics

  13. The decentralisation of power

  14. Decolonization and feminist economics as challenges to power

  15. Post- growth policy-making, law and governance

  16. How to respond to the ethno-nationalist environmentalism and anti-environmentalism of ascendant populist groups

  17. The politics of transitions to sustainability and the lessons to be learned from past socio-economic and cultural transformation

  18. Spatial issues: planning, housing and the future of cities

  19. Diversity, degrowth, and ecological economics: class, race, gender, abilities

  20. Sustainable development goals, degrowth, and ecological economics

  21. Conflict resolution processes and socio-ecological transformations

  22. Biodiversity, ecosystem services, and sustainable livelihoods

  23. Degrowth, ecological economics, and social metabolism

  24. Political economy and ecological economics/degrowth

  25. Sustainable livelihoods and ecological sufficiency

  26. Languages of valuation and ecological conflicts

  27. Extractivism, Environmental Justice, and illicit activities

  28. Social-ecological economics and degrowth

  29. Production, consumption,  degrowth, and ecological economics

  30. Strategies for achieving a socially just sustainability transition / degrowth : lessons from the Vienna conference


Given the significance of the pandemic for the themes of the conference, we are also inviting new contributions under an additional subtheme:

31. Economy and livelihoods after Covid-19:  The Covid-19 pandemic and responses to it have had deeply unequal impacts on lives, livelihoods, and well-being across race, gender, and class. At the same time, it has opened up the space for new possibilities for building alternative livelihoods and economies that can take us beyond a capitalist economy that requires ever-expanding growth. This is an additional call for papers that look more specifically at the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic both for the forms of inequality that exist within current society and for the possibilities for building and rebuilding alternative livelihoods.   Existing contributors to the conference are also welcome to revise their papers in the light of the pandemic if they would like to do so.

If you have not used Scriptum before  you will need to create an account.  Choose the theme Economy and Livelihoods after Covid-19.  Also please select one or more Keywords (called subcategories on some pages) from the drop-down list to assist us in programme construction.  Problems - email

IMportant: Please make sure you complete your submission by midnight, UK time (GMT) on 7 March.  If you don't finish and confirm, then your submission cannot be considered.