SUM4034 – Debates in Post-development & Degrowth

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Course content


This course will discuss key themes, debates and political mobilizations in Post-Development and Degrowth. The rise of ecological catastrophe and social discontent with the current trajectory of development and industrial organization makes this course essential for exploring the different ideas and alternatives to development. The course does not attempt to offer a comprehensive overview of post-development literature (as it is extensive), but instead will emphasize key debates and themes. This includes examining the defining features of degrowth and post-development; tensions and critiques outside and within post-development; examining debates between degrowth and green growth/eco-modernism; examining the role of energy and renewable energy as they support and undermine alternative futures; tensions between degrowth and ecosocialism; and how they conflict with and support movements of environmental justice, autonomous and anarchistic movements.

This course hopes to create an environment where difficult, rebellious and exploratory ideas can flourish to promote academic engagement with researching and writing about issues central to post-development and degrowth. This includes looking critically at alternative social organizations and ways of living, but also how they struggle against the dominant political and economic paradigms.

Learning outcome

The central learning outcomes of this course are as follows:

  • Acquiring a knowledge of the Post-Development and Degrowth schools of thought.
  • Understanding the key political fault lines & debates within these schools as they overlap & diverge.
  • Gain an understanding of issues related to political power, energy & technology
  • Obtain a broad understanding of environmental politics, mobilization & action.
  • Identifying different political positions and tensions
  • Identify key political and ethical dilemmas around post-development actions.
  • Advancing critical thought around development and environmental issues.


You may apply to be a guest student at SUM. Please follow these instructions.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

A bachelor’s degree. 

Recommended previous knowledge

Specialization equivalent to at least 80 ECTS within subjects from the humanities or social sciences, sustainable development, or equivalent relevant subjects. 


Each week will center on a key and often overlapping themes. This course will be conducted as a seminar.  As such, participation and preparation are essential. Class participants are expected to complete all assigned readings and attend the seminar ready to discuss these issues critically. This is to encourage class participants to formulate questions, comments and personal ‘conversational dilemmas’ arising from the (mandatory or suggested) readings before to ensure a lively and constructive classroom conversation.  Everyone is expected to come to class with a minimum of three questions or comments inspired from each text. 

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Final examination: course paper. 

Compulsory activities that must be approved before the students can submit the final course paper:

  • Class Participation

  • Demonstration of reading

  • Oral presentation

Students must report absence from compulsory activities.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language