I know what you did last summer, Post scriptum to the 9th International Degrowth Conference
9th International Degrowth Conference, Zagreb, 2023 (Photo: Bojan Mrđenović)

Jelena Puđak i Mladen Domazet

MaMa, Preradovićeva 18, Zagreb
Tuesday, 09/07/2024, 8pm

Our last event before the summer break is a conversation with sociologist Jelena Puđak and philosopher Mladen Domazet about the different receptions of degrowth in the Croatian media. Jelena Puđak and Mladen Domazet were part of the team for the 9th International Degrowth Conference, which was held in Zagreb last year. We will discuss the reception of topics related to degrowth in the local and global contexts. The conference in Zagreb was the first live event on degrowth after the global pandemic, and a key point in the official organizing of the global degrowth movement.

Despite the large attendance and the diversity of the program, the conference was met with media resistance and caused a series of strong reactions, even mockery from some media outlets, in spite of the key guest appearance of the co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the presence of researchers and activists for global justice from Croatia and abroad.

Françoise Vergès, 9th International Degrowth Conference, Zagreb, 2023 (Photo: Bojan Mrđenović)

The latest reports from IPCC and IPBES suggest that degrowth policies should be taken into account in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, respectively. Researchers in ecological economics and broader post-growth cultural shift have been increasingly cooperating on transdisciplinary research through a growing number of international events, alongside a series of international degrowth conferences that, since 2008, have provided a platform for international discussion on these topics from scientific, activist and cultural perspectives.

Previous research shows a strong environmental concern of the population of Zagreb and Croatia, although their willingness to step up to the systematic prevention of ecological collapse is lower than that in Westen Europe. Despite being among the poorest EU countries, support for values and social norms consistent with degrowth in Zagreb is comparable to, or even greater than, in wealthier European regions.

This lecture contrasts such views with the representation of degrowth in media. Discourse analysis of degrowth-themed articles from newspapers and online publications reveals different conceptual framings of degrowth in the media. This presentation is based on research that draws lessons for initiatives seeking a democratic transition away from growth dependence, highlighting the gap between media portrayals and public attitudes about degrowth. Are we witnessing a transformation of the elite’s stance on degrowth, from neglect to active mockery and suppression? “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, and then you win.” (N. Klein, trade union activist, 1918)

Dr. Mladen Domazet is a co-founder and researcher at the Institute for Political Ecology. He works as a senior research associate at the Institute of Philosophy in Zagreb. His commitment to philosophy and the degrowth movement dates back to the time of the Group 22 seminar. He was the scientific director of the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016, and one of the organizers of the 9th International Degrowth Conference in Zagreb in 2023. He published scientific papers on the philosophy of science and attitudes about growing up in Eastern Europe. He claims that he is still convinced that degrowth is a sober vision of mitigating climate catastrophe.

Dr. Jelena Puđak is a research associate at the Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar (Zagreb) in the period 2008-2017 and 2019-present. She also taught at the University of Zagreb (Department of Sociology at the Faculty of Croatian Studies) from 2014 to 2019. Her areas of interest are social ecology, sustainable development, ecological economics and social dimensions of climate change, and qualitative research methodologies.
Since 2008, she has been continuously working on Croatian and international research projects and is an active member of non-governmental professional organizations, the Croatian Environmental Knowledge Center and the Croatian Panel for Climate Change, which operate in the field of sustainability and climate change. She has published several scientific papers and two books.

The talk is part of the WHW discursive program History of Art and Society: Conversations on Degrowth.

The program is supported by:
City Office for Culture and Civil Society of the City of Zagreb
Kultura Nova Foundation