Flux RSS

Flux RSS


The research project aims at exploring the logics and practices of valuation and evaluation promoted by social movements supporting the transition towards a frugal society, as they are expressed in their discourses and in the forms of production, consumption and cooperation that they promote. The main innovative feature of the project is to bridge three research areas: the research on the ecological transition, the social movement analysis and the sociology of valuation and evaluation.

We advance the hypothesis that the movements supporting the transition towards a frugal society try to develop logics and practices of (e)valuation which express critiques of the dominant market-industrial rationality, through setting up a place for the expression of “emplaced” modes of valuing. We are interested in investigating how this change in the sphere of valuing and evaluating practices influences and modifies collective decision and cooperation, how it affects the organization of work, the transmission of knowledge, and the management of environmental resources developed and promoted by these movements. Another major contribution the project wants to bring to the debate on the ecological transition is to investigate the movements promoting the advent of a frugal society in their innovative ways of raising awareness. We focus our analysis on the peculiar importance of exemplarity.

Our fieldwork investigation on social movements for the transition to a frugal society will focus on four different European countries: France, Italy, Germany and Portugal. Our first objective is to study the impacts of the current socio-economic crisis on initiatives promoting a transition to a frugal society. Our second objective is to observe the international circulation of ideas, knowledge and practices on the transition and the ways in which these international trends are influenced by national context-dependent political cultures.

Two social movements in particular will be studied: the permaculture movement and the degrowth movement. The permaculture movement is a social movement promoting the transition towards a frugal society through exemplarity, practice and knowledge transmission. The degrowth movement on the contrary is mainly an intellectual movement, with a strong ethical dimension, which is contributing to the production of a theoretical frame of justification for the transition towards a frugal society. By contrasting these two movements, we will strive to shed light on the relation between frugality as a concept and frugality as a practice. A better understanding of why and how people embrace frugal ways of life is today a crucial issue in the debate on how to respond to the socio-economic and environmental crisis.