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Degrowth (EN)

How is economic growth entwined with the social, environmental and financial turmoil of the past few decades? How can we have a stable and prosperous economy that does not grow—let alone one that shrinks to a sustainable level relative to existing planetary boundaries?

The predominant economic system is caught in a double bind: its expansion disrupts the natural world and fails to curb global inequities, while slowdown destabilises the inner workings of economic system itself. Many continue to hope against hope that economic growth can be decoupled from its ecological impact and will bring wealth to all. However, these perspectives trivialise the fundamental contradictions between the goals of economic profitability, environmental sustainability and social justice. To persist in denying these contradictions will end in a process of uncontrolled economic decline with serious social and ecological harm.

The degrowth movement offers a radical critique and an alternative vision that draws from a range of unorthodox intellectual and philosophical traditions, including political ecology, ecological economics and post-development. In this course, their insights are brought together using a system dynamics approach. It confronts us with our own biases concerning growth, limits, money, well-being and so on.

This elective course is part of the minor Sustainability and Economics In addition to students taking the minor, this course is also accessible for other UvA students and other parties. This module is given at the level of second-year students.

Learning objectives

At the end of the course the student can:

  • Recognise and distinguish key perspectives in degrowth/post-growth debates.
  • Explain and evaluate degrowth/post-growth arguments for changing the growth-based economy.
  • Interpret and examine processes of growth and degrowth by applying relevant conceptual and methodological frameworks.
  • Develop and defend alternative approaches based on the principles of degrowth.


Dhr. dr. ir. C.F. (Crelis) Rammelt

Recommended prior knowledge

This course invites students from different backgrounds and doesn’t require particular specialist knowledge.

Teaching format

Lectures, seminars (only for students) and self-study


See Datanose.

Course materials

A list of readings will be provided. All articles are available through the UvA network.


See website.

Number of participants



Examination for this course consists of the following elements:

  • Prior to the start of each seminar (three in total), students will hand in individual reviews of the readings from prior weeks.
  • At the end of the course, students will submit an individual research paper on selected topics.
  • Participation will be assessed through attendance of at least 80% of the lectures.


UvA-students can register themselves from 9 June, (look for code 5512DEGR6Y in SIS) until a week before the start of the course.

Other parties, such as contract students, UvA staff or students from other institutions, interested can register from 9 June, through the registration form

Other parties, such as contract students and UvA staff can only take part as auditor and do not take part in the exam(s)

If you have any trouble while registering please contact: 

Degrowth (EN)
Mode Short-term, open uva courses
Credits 6 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Starts in October