HEN661 Economics beyond growthmania: Technology - solution or problem?

Faculty of Social Studies
Autumn 2017
Extent and Intensity
2/0/0. 2 credit(s). Type of Completion: z (credit).
Mgr. Christian Kerschner, M.Sc., Dr. (lecturer)
Christian Kimmich, Ph.D., M.Sc. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
doc. Mgr. Bohuslav Binka, Ph.D.
Department of Environmental Studies - Faculty of Social Studies
Contact Person: Ing. Veronika Išová
Supplier department: Department of Environmental Studies - Faculty of Social Studies
Mon 27. 11. 15:15–18:30 U34, Tue 28. 11. 15:15–18:30 U44
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
Po tomto semináři účastníci shromáždili základní pojetí pojmů post-růst a Degrowth, jako vznikající paradigmy, které zpochybňují zjevnou potřebu neustálého ekonomického růstu. Kromě toho obdrží přehled o jednom z klíčových témat probíhající debaty: jaká je role technologií v společnosti mimo rámec růstu? Budou povzbuzováni, aby si vytvořili svou vlastní mysl od autorů nadšených, od těch, kteří jsou spíše kritičtí, a od ostatních, kteří jsou mezi nimi. A budou vyzváni, aby napadli své vlastní předsudky a ocenili obě strany vědeckého dilematu.
Learning outcomes
After this workshop participants will have gathered a basic understanding of the concepts of post-growth and Degrowth, as emerging paradigms that challenge the apparent need for constant economic growth. In addition they will obtain an overview of one of the key topics in the ongoing debate: what is the role of technology in a society beyond growth? They will be encouraged to make up their own mind from authors that are enthusiastic, those who are rather critical and others who are in between. And they will be invited to challenge their own preconceived views and appreciate both sides of a scientific dilemma.
  • Participants of the workshop will firstly receive a general introduction into the literature that challenges the constant need of economic growth i.e. Post-growth or Degrowth. Many new research areas are opening up in this emerging field. Participants will have the opportunity to engage more with a particular polemic one: technology - for some the solution to all our sustainability problems, to others the very origin of these problems. A broad spectrum of these views from a variety of different scientific disciplines has been collected in a hot-of-the-press special issue in a prestigious scientific journal and participants of the workshop will receive an overview of its content. E.g. one contribution looks at so called peer-to-peer production (e.g. 3D printing); another favours low-tech solutions like shower bags or washing lines and calculates the possible energy savings; yet others propose a withdrawal from technology, etc. etc. (see online collection of articles). The focus is always rather a social-science one rather than an engineering one and on groups of technologies or technology in general rather than details of one specific technology.
    required literature
  • Editorial of the Special Issue: Degrowth & Technology in the Journal of Cleaner Production. (essential)
  • Selected articles from the special issue (each participant will be able to voluntarily select two, first come first serve)
Teaching methods
Participants will receive a set of (relatively easy) questions to answer (1000 words) with respect to the content of the editorial of the special issue, in order to make sure everyone starts with the same level of input. The first slot will be held mostly as an input-session, but with room for debates and small group work. Some time will be set aside for preparing the large debate in the second slot. Participants will be randomly assigned roles, either on the techno-optimist or the techno-pessimist side and will as a group prepare a more or less formal debate, with a price to win for the best performing team.
Assessment methods
Pre-Course assignment: 1500 words answering a set of pre-defined questions related to the literature - 60% Performance in the Debate: Not in terms of acting skills but in terms of the noticeable level of preparation, ability to answer content related questions etc. -40%
Language of instruction
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught only once.

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