An Environmental Humanities and Lausanne Ecological Economics Lab ( LEEL) joint seminar
Ecological economics has advanced critiques of capitalism in recent years, not least by integrating different heterodox schools of thought and the critical social sciences, and because of the harsh realities of accelerating ecological and social breakdown. Radical critique of the capitalist status quo is essential for moving away from it, but not enough. Scholarship can be liberating if it combines radical critique, which nurtures a deep willingness for social-ecological change, with imagination and inspiration, which awakens the real possibilities for a new society. This contribution aims to focus on the latter. Calling in on a desirable future in which everyone is allowed and supported to thrive, I explore different ideas and practices to enliven new social relations grounded in care, ecological reparation and healing. New agreements at this level could change the world. How to articulate such agreements and how to do so in the current predicament -- life in capitalist ruins, tied to inherited shackles that oppress, rather than liberate -- seems key. I seek to integrate ideas such as freedom, alienation, being, and collective trauma from Marxian political economy, integral theory, and indigenous wisdom traditions to weave a pattern towards this end.
Elke Pirgmaier studies the political economy of climate emergency and post-capitalist futures. She specializes in systems thinking, dialectics and value theory to unveal the power of economic ideas, and how to break free from them. Elke holds a PhD in economics and political economy from the University of Leeds and is a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Geography and Sustainability, University of Lausanne. She is an associate editor of Environmental Values, secretary of the European Society of Ecological Economics (ESEE) and academic secretary of the Association of Heterodox Economics (AHE).