Introducing Giacomo D’Alisa, IPE’s 2017 Senior Research Fellow

Dr Giacomo D’Alisa, a post-doc fellow at the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra and co-founder of Research and Degrowth Barcelona, will be IPE’s Senior Research Fellow during the autumn and winter of 2017.

Giacomo is an ecological economist and political ecologist with interdisciplinary skills. His academic work employs critical and innovative framework drawn from ecological economics, political theory, integrate assessment and urban political ecology to investigate changes in the societal metabolic patterns and the consequent environmental injustice they can generate. His current research project called “Becoming” aims to orchestrate three theoretical frameworks (Institutional Analysis, Political Ecology and Digital Studies) in order to better explore the blooming of Commons around Europe. Giacomo is the co-editor of “Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era”, which has been translated to ten different languages, including, of course, Croatian.

During his fellowship, he will work on developing a paper investigating the conceptual relationship between degrowth and the state. While degrowthers have proposed several policies to be enforced by national parliaments or municipal governments, the discussion of state in degrowth circles is still limited. Through the fellowship, Giacomo will engage with IPE’s staff and fellows to open a discussion about the state from a degrowth perspective.

The State is usually singled out as a “thing”, reified as an entity separate from its governor (and, more and more often, blamed) in academic circles, political debates and daily discussions. ‘Where is the State?’ or ‘the State should guarantee…’ are sentences very often repeated in the aftermath of a socio-ecological tragedy or when a certain right is not respected, while ‘Why should I give my money to the State?’ is a refrain heard whenever a discussion about taxation starts in the public domain. On the other hand, the experience of the state as a social relation is encountered daily , when one stands at a check-point (as soldier or civilian), goes to school (as teacher or student), enters a hospital (as doctor or patient) or participates in municipal assembly (as governor or being governed).

How degrowthers can challenge these social relations that are embedded in power structures defined by capitalist, hetero-patriarchal, colonial and racist forces without reifying the state is a topic that will be explored within Giacomo’s fellowship term.

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