Complicating the North-South Binary: A Small Islands Perspective

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

Description

This presentation emphasizes habitual practices and cultural systems as key to degrowth theorization (Paulson 2017), and suggests a hitherto unexplored subtheme to the degrowth conversation, namely “islands, islandness and islanding”.

I present material generated from fieldwork in two small island countries, one in the “Global North” (the Faroe Islands) and the other in the “Global South” (São Tomé e Príncipe). While there is a clear material “North-South” difference between the political economies and socio-ecological metabolisms of these two island countries, both are also characterized by non-growth oriented economic philosophies that are contextually meaningful and ontologically commonsensical to its inhabitants.

My findings inspire me to explore the conceptual conundrum of the North-South binary when it comes to research and engagement with small island contexts in relation to degrowth discourse, theory and activism. Inspired by Mignolo (2002), I suggest the concept of modernity/coloniality as a useful approach for understanding the dynamics and onto-epistemological tensions between growth-oriented development economics (modernity) on the one hand and contextually embedded economic philosophies (colonial differences) on the other hand, whether in the “Global South” or in the “Global North”.

References:

Mignolo, W. D. (2002). The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference. The South Atlantic Quarterly, 101(1), 57–96.

Paulson, S. (2017). Degrowth: culture, power and change. Journal of Political Ecology, 24, 425-448.
Period5 Sep 2018
Event titleThe 1sth North-South Conference on Degrowth-Descrecimento
Event typeConference
LocationMexico City, MexicoShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Keywords

  • Small Islands
  • Global North/South
  • Social Metabolism
  • Faroe Islands
  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Modernity/Coloniality
  • Degrowth
  • Postdevelopment