In conformity with the global concerns about climate change, environmental impacts, economic developments, human rights and consumerist life style, Degrowth Theory (Latouche, 2004; 2007) proposes a series of principles aiming to foster equality, reduce the ecological footprint and make social relations flourish. Contrasting with a model of never-ending development, Degrowth highlights how a model of endless growth is not compatible with a closed system as our planet is (Georgescu-Roegen, 1977). This paper focuses on the spread of degrowth proposal into Italian politics and highlights the results that such proliferation entails. The research emphasizes the individual activity and explains the increasing of degrowth practices not as the result of institutional driving forces but as a consequence of single actions fostering all together a cultural change. We focused on Virtuous Municipalities' Association (VMA), a network of several Italian municipalities that has been the first national association to adopt degrowth in Public Administration. Since 2007 the VMA officially refers to degrowth principles applying locally a decrease of consumptions, wastes and ecological footprint of the administrative establishment and promoting social relations, conviviality and citizens participation. This case study analysis is led on primary data. We interviewed the representatives of each municipality belonging to VMA to investigate the effects of their policies; moreover, we run a focus group with the town councillors of Mezzago (Milan) to explore in detail how the political practice is applied. The results show the efficacy of enacted policies in promoting social cohesion, environmental protection and citizens’ well-being, achieved by individual fulfilment and empowerment (Eudaimonic Well-Being). We point out the relevance of the latter result as the key element that enables politicians and citizens to persevere in their activities. This activism is promoted by psychological well-being, which is the result of intrinsic motivation that allows individuals to experience a state of self-determination and a sense of competence. In these terms, individuals mainly reproduce situations connected with their own well-being promotion. Other results outline that the activity of the local administration is bound to stimulating and listening to citizens; this dialectic process recognizes a central role to the involvement of citizenship, promoting its role as an active actor. An example of good practices is the participated project addressed to reintroduce pink asparagus growing, a typical well known product of Mezzago, through establishing a cooperative society. This project provides agricultural land recovery, economical resources for the local farmers and the preservation of a symbolic value for the community identity. Ecological, economical and social aims are achieved limiting the consumption of territory and promoting mastery in the citizenship. We believe that the latest aspect is necessary to preserve social cohesion and cultural identity: it wouldn’t be possible using the land for maize intensive farming or residential zoning. In conclusion, the spread of degrowth proposal into Italian politics is due to an individual process, characterized by self-empowerment and self-determination, and to an activation endorsed by the public administration. Such process reproduced in each municipality make the degrowth practices expand not only with reference to the local context but also on larger dimensions. Administrations and citizens foster new cultural elements coming from degrowth proposal and carry out a cultural change able to provide concrete answers to the global change. The openness toward society explains the effectiveness in creating a wide network starting from local actions and the achievement of a new model of sustainability for Public Administration.
Policy of de-growth to face Global Change : Virtuous Municipalities Association promoting sustainability and wellbeing in Italy / M. Boffi, M. Guerini. ((Intervento presentato al 21. convegno IAPS Conference : Vulnerability, Risk and Complexity : Impacts of Global Change on Human Habitats tenutosi a Leipzig nel 2010.
|Titolo:||Policy of de-growth to face Global Change : Virtuous Municipalities Association promoting sustainability and wellbeing in Italy|
BOFFI, MARCO (Primo)
GUERINI, MARTA (Ultimo)
|Data di pubblicazione:||giu-2010|
|Parole Chiave:||degrowth, best practices ; wellbeing|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore M-PSI/05 - Psicologia Sociale|
|Enti collegati al convegno:||International Association People Environment Studies|
|Citazione:||Policy of de-growth to face Global Change : Virtuous Municipalities Association promoting sustainability and wellbeing in Italy / M. Boffi, M. Guerini. ((Intervento presentato al 21. convegno IAPS Conference : Vulnerability, Risk and Complexity : Impacts of Global Change on Human Habitats tenutosi a Leipzig nel 2010.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||14 - Intervento a convegno non pubblicato|