In this bilingual webinar (Irish and English), author, academic and activist Peadar Kirby explored the paradigm change necessary for the transition to an economy that prioritises human and ecological wellbeing, in contrast to the current pursuit of economic growth as a goal.
This change in philosophy and approach will need to be rooted in local knowledge and sensitivity, acknowledging and critiquing pervasive assumptions about progress and development, as well as historical and current power dynamics.
Peadar examined the decolonisation of our ‘social imaginary’ – the capacity to imagine radically different social futures and realise them – through the lens of the Irish experience, language(s) and culture. He also mapped some of the contours of the transition now underway in Ireland.
Cuirfidh Peadar síos ar an mbuntáiste mór atá againn maireachtáil idir saol cumhachtach an Bhéarla agus an saol leochaileach ach fíor-saibhir a osclaíonn an Ghaeilge dúinn. Déarfaidh sé go dtugann an taithí laethúil sin cumas faoi leith dúinn chun tabhairt faoin dtrasnú ón mbéascna atá in uachtar faoi láthair agus an bhéascna úrnua atá de dhíth orainn agus atá ag bláthú de réir a chéile.
Peadar Kirby is Professor Emeritus of International Politics and Public Policy, University of Limerick and a visiting professor at the Universidad de Valencia, Spain. He has lived in Cloughjordan Ecovillage since 2009 where he served on the board of directors from 2015-19 and is currently coordinator of the education programme. His latest books are <.em>Karl Polanyi and the Contemporary Global Crisis: Transforming Market Society in the Era of Climate Change, Foreword by President Michael D. Higgins (Bloomsbury, 2021) and, co-authored with Tadhg O’Mahony, The <.em>Political Economy of the Low-Carbon Transition: Pathways Beyond Techno-optimism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). He is currently writing a book entitled Athrú Treo: An Ghaeilge sa Trasnú go Sochaí Iar-Charbóin.
Two respondents commented on Peadar’s talk:
Professor Mary Murphy, Head of Department and Professor in the Department of Sociology, Maynooth University, with research interests in ecosocial welfare, gender, care and social security, globalisation and welfare states, and power and civil society. She co-edited The Irish Welfare state in the 21st Century Challenges and Changes (Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2016) and authored Creating an Ecosocial Future (Policy Press, May 2023). An active advocate for social justice and gender equality, she was appointed to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (2013-217) and is currently a member of the Council of State in Ireland.
Eóin Ó Cuinneagáin, a decolonial scholar based at the centre for postcolonial studies, Linnaeus University Sweden, where he is finalizing his PhD dissertation on Gaelic song practices as epistemic, decolonial disobedience. During the fourth year of his PhD he undertook a research visit at the artistic studies doctoral program, Universidad Distrital, José Francisco de Caldas in Bogotá, Colombia. In 2023 he was invited by the university of South Africa to lecture on the UNISA summer school on “Afrocentric, decolonial and knowledges otherwise”, where he also participated in a one month research visit, including two research seminars organized by African Decolonial Network.
Some groundwork was laid for this discussion in Tim Jackson’s talk at our March 29 webinar, “The Art of the Wellbeing Economy” (Tim’s talk is from 12:12 to 12:32 on the video below).
Tim explored the three questions being examined in WEAll Ireland’s Cultural Creatives project:
- How do narratives sustain the myth of economic growth?
- What is the role of the artist in guiding society to a liberating ‘social imaginary’?
- Can limits be strangely liberating?
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