Alt Shift 2023: Masculinities and Degrowth Workshop

"how to educate for degrowth?" was one of the core questions of Alt Shift's last edition, take a closer look at one of the workshops proposed!

How to break away from hegemonic masculinity?

With Elena’s blog post yesterday we started reminiscing, so let us go back to this last edition of Alt Shift 2023 and look at its puzzle pieces through our magnifying glass: we start from the WORKSHOPS.

From the workshops series exploring “how to educate for degrowth?” Tadeas from NaZemi proposed a participatory conversation about MASCULINITIES and DEGROWTH, how to break away from the hegemony? In great synergy with eco-feminist literature the discussion revolved around how society normalises hegemonic masculinity and everyone was invited to reflect on their experiences and perception of gender roles. How do certain constraints might hinder transformation within and outside the degrowth movement? The decostruction of these norms and talks about ecological masculinities are a fundamental starting point to speak about and do degrowth.

To share with you a lived experience, we asked a participant about their impressions of the workshop and this is what they wrote:

“Starting by drawing and describing the "typical" man, it was striking how one-sided his traits were: competitiveness, strenght, rationality, being in control, etc. Trying to live up to such expectations puts so much pressure on a person, not allowing them to ever be vulnerable or admit a mistake or shortcoming.

It was also frightening and very sad to see the strong emotional reactions that female participants had when they were thinking about men in their lives who meet many of the criteria of the "ideal" man.

The tools from NVC that were used (e.g. lists of possible emotions and needs) were very useful as many of us were not very experienced in properly understanding and naming our feelings. Not having these tools would leave a hurdle when attempting to connect to one's emotionality and through that better understand oneself.

I find it important to create such safer spaces where people socialised as men can share with other *men the problems they have with what has been and still is expected from them as *men. It felt really good to have that space being created and to be a part of it.

For me, spaces like this help to better understand (problematic) internalized believes or expectations and to not feel alone with them. Exchanging within them is a practice in itself to start emotional and caring relationships between *men, where we can learn to be more vulnerable with each other.

For men who want to actively work against patriarchal structures, I feel it is very important to have such spaces in order to understand and co-create how critical / ecological masculinities could look and feel like.”

About the workshop organisers: @NaZemi is a Czech organisation that focuses on mainstreaming the ideas of degrowth into the public discussion. They do talks, workshops, train educators, organise conferences, published a book and network different stakeholders for the degrowth transformation. Apart from degrowth, NaZemi also focuses on transformative education, facilitation and provide process support in transformations towards non-hierarchical way of functioning.

Extract from the Masculinities and Degrowth Workshop

Masculinities and Degrowth Workshop

Masculinities and Degrowth Workshop


We see that it's very interesting how I feel like in the activist spaces and there you know there is so much talk on like toxic masculinity and like all these things it's very like going at the power with the power
sort of like use using this I would say like maybe patriarchal tools to overcome that
instead of or not instead of because I think it's a very delicate line for holding men accountable and saying no this cannot happen etc etc and at the same time having some sort of empathy and like not dehumanizing them throughout the process what Bell Hooks says (...)