Short report by Roberta Discetti
In 2022 Trento University (Italy) and Bournemouth University (UK) have launched the Socio-Ecological Transitions Seminars (SETS) as a joint initiative between the Centre for Sustainable and Socially Responsible Consumption at Bournemouth University and the Research Group on Collective Action, Change and Transition at the University of Trento.
SETS aim at reflecting with critical instruments and theories on socio-ecological transformations in times of crisis – with a special focus on everyday life and the sphere of social and ecological reproduction. In particular, the seminars aim at eliciting reflection on the different practices and “fields” where struggles and transformative action take place. The seminars are open to a diverse audience, including academics, students, practitioners, social movements, and non-specialist public.
In our first seminar in March, Stefania Barca (Universidade Santiago de Compostela) presented her last book “Forces of reproduction. Struggles and practices of ecosocial justice”, while researcher and activist Antonella Picchio (University of Modena) joined as discussant. Her presentation revolved around the theme of ‘hegemonic narrative of the Anthropocene’, namely a narrative that pursues violent growth at the expense of workers and the environment. Drawing from ecofeminist approaches, she presented several ways to “undo” the Anthropocene, questioning current dominant colonial relations, gender relations, class relations, and species relations.
In April, Matthew Anderson (University of Portsmouth) and Indro Dasgupta, (Word Fair Trade Organisation) presented their work-in-progress on ‘Fair Trade Consumption in India’, while Anita Ahuja, Co-Founder and President of Conserve India and Board member of Fair Trade Forum India, joined as a discussant. Their research drew attention to the necessity of rethinking modes of consumption (and ethical consumption) beyond Western-centric narratives.
Lastly, in May, Lara Monticelli (Copenhagen Business School) presented her upcoming book
The Future Is Now: An Introduction to Prefigurative Politics, focused on community-based, prefigurative social movements (e.g. sustainable communities, eco-villages, transition towns, solidarity networks) as living laboratories experimenting with practices of resilience and resistance to environmental, economic and societal challenges. Bernd Bonfert (Cardiff University) joined as a discussant, based on his research on alternative modes of economic and social reproduction at the WISERD centre in Cardiff.
Our seminars call for academics, social movements and diverse actors to cooperate to give visibility to counter-narratives able to move towards an ‘ecological revolution’. We look forward to the second cycle in Autumn 2022 and feedback, collaborations and ideas are welcome. For more details contact Francesca Forno (firstname.lastname@example.org), Roberta Discetti (email@example.com) and Alice Dal Gobbo (firstname.lastname@example.org).