The act of (de/re)growing: Prefiguring alternative organizational landscapes of socioecological transformations

M Ehrnström-Fuentes, I Biese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


How does transformative change that restructures humans’ relations to the Earth come into being? The proposal for degrowth calls for a drastic reorganization of societies in order to deal with the current planetary socioecological and climate crises. Yet, there is a lack of understanding of how such socioecological transformations are brought into being. In this article, we examine prefigurative processes of socioecological transformations. We introduce the concept of the act of (de)growing, a prefigurative practice in which individuals engage at a personal level as they disentangle from organizational spaces governed by growth (act of degrowing), while entangling with nonhumans (cows, sheep, plants and seeds) to consciously make something else grow (act of growing) in the place that they inhabit. Drawing on 10 personal stories of degrowth in the Nordics, we identify four interlinked dimensions of socioecological transformations that bring new degrowth inspired organizational landscapes into being (disentangling from growth; organizing with nonhumans in place; the emergence of novel subjectivities in place; and the formation of translocal networks of support). We discuss the implications that these dispersed situated forms of socioecological transformations have for breaking with the systemic inertia of societal institutions built on economic growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1739-1766
Number of pages28
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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