Redefining Progress in Light of the Ecological Crisis

"Damien Lawson speaking on climate emergency action", par Takver, licence CC ( Méda, Redefining Progress in Light of the Ecological Crisis, FMSH-WP-2012-25, décembre 2012.

English translation of : Dominique Méda, Redéfinir le progrès à la lumière de la crise écologique, FMSH-WP-2012-22, octobre 2012.

To download the paper from HALSHS.


This paper presents the main arguments from the inaugural lecture delivered at the opening of the chair “Ecological Reconversion, Work, Employment and Social Policies”, established at the Collège d’Etudes Mondiales set up by the Foundation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris, in cooperation with the University Paris-Dauphine. Though they do not like being dependent on the hypotheses or results of research in the natural sciences, the humanities and social sciences now face the challenge of addressing the radical changes that the former have revealed to us: first, to understand how human beings turned themselves into veritable geological agents capable of destroying the planet’s habitable character; second, to measure the extent to which we can trust traditional disciplines to define the contours of the world in which we aspire to live; and finally, to shed light on possible solutions to what we can now see is far greater than a mere crisis. Dominique Méda examines here the reasons why production has become the primary context in which expression occurs in modern society and why gross domestic product has become main criterion for measuring achievement, before reflecting on what the stakes are of developing new ways of representing “what matters.”

The author

A former student of the École Normale Supérieure and the École Nationale d’Administration, an agrégée of philosophy, and accredited to direct research in sociology, Dominique Méda is currently a professor of sociology at the University of Paris-Dauphine. She is notably the author of Le Travail. Une valeur en voie de disparition?, Qu’est-ce que la richesse?, Le Temps des femmes. Pour un nouveau partage des rôles. She also participated in several volumes on social policy.

To download the paper from HALSHS.

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