HEN642 Sustainable Degrowth

Faculty of Social Studies
Spring 2015
Extent and Intensity
2/0. 5 credit(s). Type of Completion: z (credit).
Mgr. Eva Fraňková, Ph.D. (lecturer)
RNDr. Naděžda Johanisová, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Mgr. Christian Kerschner, M.Sc., Dr. (lecturer)
Ing. Zbyněk Ulčák, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
doc. Mgr. Bohuslav Binka, Ph.D.
Department of Environmental Studies - Faculty of Social Studies
Contact Person: Mgr. Petra Bernatíková
Supplier department: Department of Environmental Studies - Faculty of Social Studies
This course is part of a three-week long (from May 16, 2015 until June 8, 2015) outgoing program for American students from the University of Kentucky, USA and for Czech students from Masaryk University called Sustainability Challenges in Central Europe: Theory and Environmental Case Studies in the Czech Republic. It is possible to participate on the entire three-week program (for more information visit website of the program or the contact person) and get a unique opportunity to study with American students, to participate on interesting field trips and interactive lectures. It is also possible to enrol just for this course.
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
The capacity limit for the course is 22 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 0/22, only registered: 0/22, only registered with preference (fields directly associated with the programme): 0/22
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
Agriculure and Society
The aim is to present a review of various aspects of relationships between agriculture and society.

Socially Sustainable Degrowth
• To discover the theoretical foundations and sources of the Degrowth literature
• To develop a basic understanding of biophysical limits, in particular that of energy sources i.e. “Why is future continuous economic growth unlikely?”
• To be able to challenge the idea that employment, human progress welfare and happiness depend foremost on income levels and economic growth.
• To provide students with the basic insights and tools in order to start their own (re)search for possible avenues for sustainable transformation of our society.
  • The course consists of four parts:
  • 1 / Three-hour block Agriculure and Society (Ing. Zbynek Ulčák, Ph.D), 22. 5. 2015
  • 2 / Three-hour block Socially Sustainable Degrowth (Mgr. Christian Kerschner, M.Sc., Dr.), 3. 6. 2015
  • 3 / Workshop Localization Economic and Social Enterprise (RNDr. Nadezhda Johanisová, Ph.D., Mgr. Eva Fraňková, Ph.D.), 1. 6. 2015
  • 4 / To attend at least on one field trip durgin the program. Agriculure and Society
  • The core part examines the roots and present state of industrial agriculture, which is understood as an unsustainable from the viewpoint of reduction of environmental, social and human capital. Organic agriculture is identified as a more sustainable variant particularly for its newly formulated cooperative and communicative function, which is illustrated by principles of community supported agriculture. Special attention is paid to the development of new links between producers and consumers. A case study analyses the project “Sheep grazing as a tool of nature and landscape conservation in the Southern Walachia”. Apart from conservation benefits of this organic agriculture project, the aspects of economic and social sustainability are identified. Students are expected to understand the role of broad consensus of all stakeholders in a search for local and regional sustainability. In this search Science loses its character as a trusted leader and becomes a partner for discussion.
  • Socially Sustainable Degrowth
  • The human society globally seems trapped in an ongoing social, economic, political and ecological crisis. Most of the solutions that are offered are (paraphrasing Einstein) trying to address the problems with the same level of thinking that created them. This course will provide an introduction to a radically different approach, centred around the rejection of the ability and desirability of unlimited economic growth. Socially Sustainable Degrowth is an umbrella term (recently described as interpretative frame) for a vibrant and rapidly expanding scientific and civil society movement, which is exploring a prosperous way to adapt to a declining resource base (e.g. Peak-Oil), reduce our impact on ecological systems and improve people’s ability to engage in shaping their future.
  • Economic Localization and Social Enterprise
  • Constructive alternatives to an increasingly dysfunctional global economy in the Czech Republic and elsewhere include attempts at re-localising the economy as well as support for enterprises and community economic initiatives with other-than-profit goals. In the workshop, we will look at both topics using interactive approaches and discuss their merits and limitations within the current economic environment.
  • Demaria, F., Schneider, F., Sekulova, F., Martinez-Alier, J., 2013. What is Degrowth? From an Activist Slogan to a Social Movement. Environ. Values 22, 191–215. doi:10.3197/096327113X13581561725194
  • O’Neill, J.F., 2008. Happiness and the good life. Environ. Values 17, 125–144.
  • D’Alisa, G., Demaria, F., Kallis, G., 2014. Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY.
  • Kerschner, C., 2010. Economic de-growth vs. steady-state economy. J. Clean. Prod. 18, 544–551.
  • Kallis, G., Kerschner, C., Martinez-Alier, J., 2012. The economics of degrowth. Ecol. Econ. 84, 172–180. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.08.017
  • Alexander, S., 2013. Voluntary Simplicity and the Social Reconstruction of Law: Degrowth from the Grassroots Up. Environ. Values 22, 287–308. doi:10.3197/096327113X13581561725356
  • Bauhardt, C., 2014. Solutions to the crisis? The Green New Deal, Degrowth, and the Solidarity Economy: Alternatives to the capitalist growth economy from an ecofeminist economics perspective. Ecol. Econ. 102, 60–68. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.03.015
  • DIETZ, Rob and Daniel W. O'NEILL. Enough is enough : building a sustainable economy in a world of finite resources. 1st ed. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2013. x, 240. ISBN 9780415820950. info
  • LATOUCHE, Serge. Farewell to growth. Translated by David Macey. Malden, MA: Polity, 2009. viii, 124. ISBN 9780745646176. info
Teaching methods
Lectures, discussion, group assignment, reading, field trips.
This course will be taught in a highly interactive way. So participation is very important.
Assessment methods
In-class participation in the debate, pre-course assignment and essay.
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
The course is taught only once.
The course is taught: in blocks.
Note related to how often the course is taught: mimo semestr.

  • Enrolment Statistics (recent)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/fss/spring2015/HEN642