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Event Details

Exploring grassroots initiatives for transitions

Workshop session
Start date : 7 June 2022 11:00
Date de fin : 9 June 2022 19:00
Where : Gothenburg
Hosted by : Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference (NESS): Emergency and transformation

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In the last years there has been an upsurge of different forms of grassroots initiatives for transitions to more sustainable societies. There are both established organisations as well as looser networks that are engaged with alternative systems of provision of food, energy and housing, like community supported agriculture, food sharing schemes, renewable energy cooperatives, co-housing and co-building, or in the field of mobility – Bike Kitchens, critical mass rides, other forms of making and consuming goods - DIY repair cafés, free shops, or other forms of sharing, reusing and making goods, finance – community currencies, peer to peer lending, etc.

These initiatives are less about campaigning and pushing for governments or corporations to change, and more about altering practices, building and engaging in alternative ways of living, and may be understood as “lifestyle movements” (Haenfler et al, 2012), as practicing and expanding “diverse economies” (Gibson-Graham, 2008), as “grassroots innovation” (Seyfang & Haxeltine, 2012), or in other sociopolitical terms. However, these “lifestyle movements” may well push for changes in policies and influence or support decision-makers and politicians as well as other citizens into more “radical” transitions. In this session we invite contributions that explore questions like:

What are the motivations for engaging in grassroots initiatives like the above mentioned? And how may they this be conceptualized?
What type of change do these initiatives and groupings contribute to? Whose practices do they alter? Who is included or excluded in these initiatives?
When and how do they have a wider societal impact, beyond the engaged? How may or do already lifestyle movements like these influence decisions at a societal level?
How can “success” or impact of these forms of initiatives be conceptualized? What are key enabling and inhibiting factors?
What is the role of these initiatives in the overall societal transition, in cooperation and/or conflict with other actors such as governments, businesses, or other organisations?
What strategies, or forms of organizing, cooperating, funding and communicating – are being used and how may these be theoretically conceptualized? 
What are the challenges and limitations of these forms of initiatives? 


For the Mobile Lives Forum, mobility is understood as the process of how individuals travel across distances in order to deploy through time and space the activities that make up their lifestyles. These travel practices are embedded in socio-technical systems, produced by transport and communication industries and techniques, and by normative discourses on these practices, with considerable social, environmental and spatial impacts.

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A lifestyle is a composition of daily activities and experiences that give sense and meaning to the life of a person or a group in time and space.

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