Browse

Ulf Zander

Some musical works that build on Raoul Wallenberg’s actions and fate form the point of departure for an argument aimed at problematizing a previously predominant view of the Americanization of the Holocaust. According to that view, adaptation to the conceptions of US audiences mostly involves simplification and a reduction of nuance. With an eye on increasing interest in Wallenberg in the 1970s, the chapter analyses how he became an important factor in American foreign policy and popular culture. The chapter discusses examples of creative negotiation between information about his life drawn from scholarly studies on the one hand and representations of Wallenberg on the other, especially with reference to the American television serial Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story and the Swedish-Hungarian feature film Good Evening, Mr. Wallenberg.

in Raoul Wallenberg
Hubert Buch-Hansen
,
Max Koch
, and
Iana Nesterova

In recent years, discussions in the degrowth literature have increasingly revolved around issues related to degrowth business. Such discussions have sought to understand what business would be like as part of a degrowth society, if it can indeed be part of it, and what, if any, roles business can play in transformations towards such societies. The chapter provides reflections on degrowth and business, suggesting that the latter constitutes an important actor on the roads to degrowth. Subsequently, various matters related to scale and diversity are considered before the chapter analyses what practices businesses would need to implement to render them consistent with degrowth. The chapter ends with a contemplation of whether a degrowth business is necessarily a non-growing business – the conclusion being that this is not the case.

in Deep transformations
Hubert Buch-Hansen
,
Max Koch
, and
Iana Nesterova

Degrowth transformations cannot but start out from what currently exists, that is, capitalist societies. Thus, an understanding of capitalism is a prerequisite for theorising such transformations. Drawing on selected ideas of Karl Marx, supplemented with insights from a range of other social theorists, the chapter unfolds such an understanding. In doing so, it focuses on the capitalist growth imperative and on capitalism in relation to work, consumption and nature. It also takes up the question of whether egoism and greed are universally dominant human attributes. This issue is of key importance as deep social change beyond capitalism is only conceivable to the extent that human beings are able to manifest and nurture existing human qualities which transcend egoism and greed. The chapter argues that indeed human beings have that capacity.

in Deep transformations
Hubert Buch-Hansen
,
Max Koch
, and
Iana Nesterova

Civil society is where ideas challenging the growth paradigm could come to prevail and where a shift away from the current consumer culture could happen. Civil society is a space in which more citizens can experiment with alternative, sustainable forms of living. It is the site of degrowth activism, the site in which the degrowth movement can form alliances with other movements. And civil society is the realm in which broad consent to, and a demand for, profound eco-social transformations could arise, prompting policymakers to adopt more ambitious policies. In short, changes in – and emanating from – civil society are an essential part of degrowth transformations. Enriching the book’s theoretical perspective, the chapter conceptualises civil society and reflects on its scales and diversity in degrowth transformations. Moreover, it highlights the importance of individual self-transformation for civil society to become a sufficiently potent driving force towards degrowth.

in Deep transformations
Open Access (free)
The four planes of degrowth
Hubert Buch-Hansen
,
Max Koch
, and
Iana Nesterova

The theoretical perspective developed in the book suggests that for degrowth transformations to occur, actions in the sites of civil society, business and the state are necessary – and they are necessary also on all scales, including the local, the national and the transnational. For degrowth to materialise, in other words, activities of agents positioned everywhere are required. In conceptualising degrowth in terms of deep transformations, we also highlight that it would necessitate profound changes on all planes of social being: material transactions with nature, social interactions between people, social structure, and people’s inner being. The concluding chapter connects a number of the key arguments made in previous chapters and relates the perspective on deep transformations more systematically to the four planes. In this context, a new, holistic definition of degrowth is proposed. The view of human beings underpinning the perspective is also further explored before various issues meriting further contemplation and interdisciplinary dialogues are identified.

in Deep transformations
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