Anarchy and Degrowth

Towards rebellious, prefigurative & insurrectionary degrowth ecologies


Alexander Dunlap a,b ( and Josephine Becker c (

a Boston University, Boston, USA

b University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

c University of Vigo, Vigo, Spain

Special Issue Description

Degrowth emerges as a popular umbrella term drawing on numerous political traditions. Anarchism, along with Marxism and feminism, remains a dominant influence inspired by numerous anti-authoritarian traditions, many emanating from Indigenous practice and critique (Graeber & Wengrow, 2022). Meanwhile degrowth values, such as autonomy, care, conviviality, democracy, and equity (Barlow et al., 2022), remain the foundations of anarchist and antiauthoritarian practices. Whilst anarchist influences are widely recognized within degrowth (D'Alisa et al., 2014; Toro, 2017, 2021; Treu et al., 2020; Barlow et al., 2022; Gorostiza, 2023; Sheorey, 2023), this connection remains underwritten and in need of further intellectual and practical development. Acting as a general conceptual container—advocating for a reduction of material and energy throughput—degrowth tends towards influencing public policy and statism.  From 530 degrowth proposals, Fitzpatrick and colleagues (2022: 10) find “that three-quarters of degrowth policy proposals were top-down with a national focus.” This ‘top-down’ focus tends to diverge from degrowth values, and its affinity with anarchism, setting itself up for co-optation for capitalist advancement and authoritarian control. Scholars criticize this statism within degrowth (Toro, 2021); its failure to acknowledge (or include) combative autonomous rural and urban struggles within degrowth literature (Dunlap, 2020, 2021a). Even in instances of acknowledging squatting as a legitimate method of struggle (Cattaneo, 2013), there is a tendency toward legalization and statist integration that has been met with criticism (Salmansperger, 2023).  Therefore, the influence and potential of anarchism within degrowth has yet to be realized, which this call for papers seeks to further explore and remedy.   

This call will build a special issue in Degrowth to advance thinking around anarchy and degrowth. Anarchy, as opposed to anarchism (GA, 2005; Anonymous 2013), seeks to go beyond the formal ideology of anarchism, instead to extend this to focusing on the spirit of revolt (Bakunin, 1990) and anarchist tension (Bonanno, 1998) that extends beyond its limiting ideological confines. This speaks to the general antiauthoritarian tension long rooted in numerous peoples’ practices (Indigenous, Roma and others), that extends past the Enlightenment, colonial and modernist shortcoming within anarchism (Dunlap, 2021b). This call for papers seeks to explore the pluriverse of ‘degrowth practices,’ which exemplify degrowth values, as they intersect with anarchist and anti-authoritarian practices. By drawing on anarchist traditions, this special issue aims to stretch degrowth into new territories to move beyond/against-borders, state repression and policing to enhance degrowth as a counterforce to statism and capitalism. This call for papers encourages submissions on the following themes:  

  • Case studies of how anarchistic practices promote degrowth values;  
  • How anarchism advances degrowth practices (or praxis);  
  • Anarchist and/or anti-authoritarian perspectives on degrowth;  
  • Anti-authoritarian methods of accomplishing/living/practicing degrowth;  
  • Revolt, resurgence, renewal: lessons from grassroots struggles for degrowth;
  • Points of contestation (or resolution) between degrowth/anarchism; Antiauthoritarian/anarchist imaginations, projections and scenarios of degrowth futures — describing and outlining possibilities to live degrowth and subvert socioecological and climate catastrophe (see for example Gelderloos, 2022, Chapter 5: A Truly Different Future).
  • Degrowth strategies for engaging the state and socioecological transformations  

Special Issue Details

The special issue on Anarchy and Degrowth will be published in the open-access Degrowth journal. It is built upon a collective (voluntary) gathering at the ESEE-Degrowth conference which will have given attendees editorial feedback for potential inclusion into the special issue. However, submissions regardless of the conference participation are welcome! Complete manuscript drafts should be submitted to us by no later than September 15th 2024. 

To express interest in the special issue, please submit a title page to the SI organizers, which allows some preliminary feedback. Please take care to make sure each title page has the following elements in this order:  

  • Provisional title  
  • Author(s) names & Affiliation(s)  
  • Email address  
  • Abstract (200-250 words)  
  • 5-6 Keywords  

Please use Times New Roman Font, 12pt the body of text.  

Please send the title pages to Alexander Dunlap ( and Josephine Becker (   

We expect the final manuscript to be submitted on the Degrowth submission platform by September 15th 2024 to begin the process of editorial feedback.

We look forward to your experiences and ideas!  


Anonymous. 2013. “Anarchy: Civil or Subversive?” Online: Dark Matter Press.

Bakunin, Mikhail Aleksandrovich. 1990. Statism and Anarchy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  

Barlow, Nathan, Liva Regen, Noemie Cadiou, Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Max Hollweg, Christina Plank, Merle Schulken, and Verena Wolf, eds. 2022. Degrowth and Strategy: How to Bring about Social-Ecological Transformation. London: Mayfly.  

Bonanno, Alfredo Maria. 1998. The Anarchist Tension. London: Elephant Editions.  

Cattaneo, Claudio. 2013. “Urban Squatting, Rural Squatting and the Ecological-Economic Perspective.” In Squatting in Europe: Radical Spaces, Urban Struggles, edited by Squatting Europe Kollective, 139– 160. New York: Autonomedia.  

D’Alisa, Giacomo, Federico Demaria, and Giorgos Kallis. 2014. Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era. London: Routledge.  

Dunlap, Alexander. 2020. “Recognizing the ‘De’ in Degrowth.” Online: Undisciplined Environments.  

Dunlap, Alexander. 2021a. “Review: A Case for Degrowth.” Interface 13 (1): 398–402.  

Dunlap, Alexander. 2021b. “Toward an Anarchist Decolonization: A Few Notes.” Capitalism Nature Socialism 32 (4): 62–72.  

GA. 2005. “What Is Green Anarchy? An Introudction to Anti-Civilization Anarchist Thought and Practice.” Online: Green Anarchy Collective.

Gorostiza, Santiago. 2023. “Iberian Anarchism in Environmental History.” In The Barcelona School of Ecological Economics and Political Ecology A Companion in Honour of Joan Martinez-Alier, 271– 282. Cham: Palgrave.  

Gelderloos, Peter. 2022. The Solutions Are Already Here: Tactics for Ecological Revolution From Below. London: Pluto.  

Graeber, David, and David Wengrow. 2021. The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Penguin UK.  

Salmansperger, Elena, ed. 2023. “How Can Degrowth Really Appreciate and Support Squatting? A Critical Engagement with Dedicating Degrowth’s Support to Legal Housing Squats.” In Debates in PostDevelopment and Degrowth: Volume 2, 166–183. Oslo: Tvergastein. .  

Sheorey, Nishikant. 2023. “Prefiguring Degrowth: Confronting Power, Accumulation, and Ecocide.”  

Toro, Francisco. 2017. “The Thought of Élisée Reclus as a Source of Inspiration for Degrowth Ethos.” In Historical Geographies of Anarchism, 88–112. Routledge.  

Toro, Francisco J. 2021. “Are the State and Pulbic Institutions Compatible with De-Growth?” In Inhabiting the Earth: Anarchist Political Ecology for Landscapes of Emancipation, edited by Martin LocretCollet, Simon Springer, and Maleea Acker, 187–204. London: Rowman & Littlefield.  

Treu, Nina, Matthias Schmelzer, and Corinna Burkhart. 2020. Degrowth in Movement (s): Exploring Pathways for Transformation. John Hunt Publishing.