Browse

Open Access (free)
A theory of degrowth

As a research field, social movement and political project, degrowth is a multifaceted phenomenon. It brings together a range of practices including alternative forms of living and transformative initiatives in civil society, business and the state. Yet no comprehensive theory of degrowth transformations has so far been developed. Deep Transformations fills this gap. It develops a theory of degrowth transformations drawing on insights from multiple fields of knowledge, such as political economy, sociology and philosophy. The book offers a holistic perspective that brings into focus transformation processes on various scales and points to various mechanisms that can facilitate degrowth. These include, for instance, eco-social policies, transformative initiatives in business and civil society and alternative modes of being in and relating with the world.

Hubert Buch-Hansen
,
Max Koch
, and
Iana Nesterova

How may the book’s theoretical perspective inspire empirical studies into degrowth transformations? Previous chapters have identified eco-social policies as a key mechanism for degrowth transformations. Thus, the chapter applies a part of the book’s theoretical perspective in an analysis of the support for such policies. Specifically, it reinterprets recent quantitative and qualitative data from research projects in which Max Koch was involved in Sweden and relates these data to the various planes of social being. After a descriptive analysis of the support in the Swedish population towards selected eco-social policies, a more in-depth analysis of the social groups in favour of and opposed to degrowth transformations is provided. Finally, the chapter shows how the knowledge of researchers can be combined with the practical knowledge of citizens in initiating transformative change and presents corresponding qualitative data from deliberative citizen forums on needs satisfaction.

in Deep transformations
Ulf Zander

The final chapter summarizes the main findings of the study. A vital aspect of that study is that scholarship and popular culture are interrelated, as the Raoul Wallenberg example demonstrates. Another realization becomes apparent: while secret/silent diplomacy is in many respects directly opposed to public diplomacy, the two have become increasingly interdependent. How views on Wallenberg have changed in Sweden, Hungary, and the US is shown in a partly different light as comparative aspects are given increased attention. Finally, the chapter addresses the question of how the memory of Wallenberg’s achievements can and should be passed on to future generations.

in Raoul Wallenberg
Ulf Zander

Monuments and memorial sites are at the heart of this chapter. After an introductory discussion about the functions fulfilled by statues, both in the past and in the present, a number of monuments erected to the memory of Raoul Wallenberg are analysed. These monuments are located in Hungary and Sweden. The Hungarian statue projects are discussed in close relation to developments in that country’s politics during the Second World War and the Cold War, and after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

in Raoul Wallenberg
From capitalism to degrowth
Hubert Buch-Hansen
,
Max Koch
, and
Iana Nesterova

Due to its contradictory nature, capitalism depends on the existence of societal institutions beyond the market to temporarily stabilise it. This chapter builds upon regulation theory, which was designed to consider the specific social, cultural and institutional forms and frameworks within which economic growth in capitalist societies proceeds. According to this theory, accumulation regimes need to be stabilised by modes of regulation conceptualised in terms of various institutional forms: the wage–labour nexus, the enterprise form, the monetary regime, the state, insertion into international regimes and the social relation to nature. The chapter adopts the concept of institutional forms, relating it first to capitalism and then to degrowth transformations so as to contemplate what such transformations could entail. Moreover, the chapter brings up the issue of what capitalist diversity means for such transformations.

in Deep transformations
Open Access (free)
Leaving the path towards eco-social collapse
Hubert Buch-Hansen
,
Max Koch
, and
Iana Nesterova

Contemporary societies face multiple crises, most of which have the capitalist growth imperative as their root cause. Against this background, a fast-growing community of scholars and activists call for degrowth. The chapter accounts for the crises and notes that while the general idea of degrowth points in the right overall direction, it still lacks a solid foundation in the social sciences and their underpinning philosophies. Further to this, it highlights that degrowth transformations have yet to be theorised in a holistic manner, that is, in a manner systematically taking into consideration various interrelated and overlapping planes of social being, scales and sites on which transformations would have to unfold. The chapter proposes that the critical realist philosophy of science can underpin a theory of the deep transformations required for degrowth to materialise. The theory accounts for transformations on various planes (social interactions, social structures and transactions with nature and inner being), on multiple scales (local, national and global) and in different sites (civil society, states and business).

in Deep transformations
Open Access (free)
An evolving history
Ulf Zander

Beginning with the formal announcement in 2016 of Raoul Wallenberg’s death, more than 71 years after his disappearance, the chapter presents some of the speculations as to why he was arrested and probably murdered by Soviet security services. There is also a detailed discussion of previous research on Raoul Wallenberg, and on how the story of the missing Swede may be understood from scholarly historical perspectives. That view is held up against a more comprehensive understanding associated with the forming of myths and legends. The chapter also deals with questions arising from the various materials and methods applied in the investigation.

in Raoul Wallenberg
Open Access (free)
Life and legacy
Author:

Raoul Wallenberg: Life and Legacy examines important events in the life of the Swedish diplomat, but this is not a traditional biography. Starting from Wallenberg’s time in Budapest during 1944–1945, the book analyses how Wallenberg went from being a highly sensitive topic in Swedish politics to becoming a personification of humanitarian effort during the Holocaust, as well as a ‘brand’ in Swedish foreign politics. Fictional portrayals of Wallenberg are another essential feature. Looking at the many ways in which his life has been represented in monuments, on opera stages, in a television serial, and in a feature film, it becomes apparent that scholarly historical perspectives have not set the agenda for engagement with Wallenberg. Finally, this study raises a vital issue: how can Wallenberg’s memory be kept alive as the distance to those events with which he was so powerfully connected recede into the background?

From bone of contention to brand
Ulf Zander

This chapter analyses the initially sparse but later comprehensive efforts made by the Swedish Foreign Office to find out what happened to Raoul Wallenberg. It also examines the many and extensive debates during and after the Cold War about the Swedish handling of the so-called Wallenberg case, often with representatives of the Swedish government and Foreign Office on one side and representatives of the Wallenberg Association, as well as of his family, on the other. The chapter demonstrates how and why Wallenberg went from embodying a difficult issue in Swedish politics to becoming a symbol, or rather a foreign-policy brand, for the country. The latter mindset was especially predominant in 2012, in connection with the celebration of the centenary of his birth. At that point, the express aim was to reduce emphasis on his disappearance in the Soviet Union, and on the way Swedish governments handled that disappearance, so as to lay greater stress on his achievements in Budapest during 1944–1945.

in Raoul Wallenberg
Ulf Zander

The chapter is divided into three components, interlinked by Raoul Wallenberg’s operations in Budapest during 1944–1945. The first section supplies a brief biography of his life before the Second World War and during the early war years. The second outlines the history of Hungary from the mid-1850s onwards, with an emphasis on the period 1918–1945 and a focus on the development from antisemitism to Holocaust. The third describes the American political discussion that resulted in the founding of the War Refugee Board, the organization which was arguably Wallenberg’s chief employer, and the efforts made by the Swede during his time in Budapest.

in Raoul Wallenberg