Are academics working too much and would it be better for the planet if they didn’t? As COP28 gets going, Dallas O’Dell and her guests, Emma Garnett and Fred Basso take a look at degrowth and whether it’s a concept that might apply to workloads in academia.
Degrowth is the planned downscaling of production and consumption to bring these systems within planetary boundaries while prioritising wellbeing over economic prosperity. Work time reduction policies are often cited in degrowth literature by academics who, paradoxically, are under increasing pressure with heavy workloads of their own. So, how much time do we spend working in academia, and would working less be better for our wellbeing and the planet?
Dallas O’Dell, an LSE PhD student researching degrowth, is joined by Emma Garnett, a postdoctoral researcher at the sustainable and healthy food group at the University of Oxford, and Fred Basso, an associate professor at LSE’s Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science.
In this podcast they discuss:
01:55 What their working week and workload looks like
05:28 Why is there so little discussion of the four-day working week in academia?
10:02 Can doing work you love be a tyranny?
16:18 What needs to change institutionally to enable academics to work less?
18:30 Could degrowth and the slow academic movement benefit research?
29:10 Could a four-day week lead to higher carbon emissions?
Listen to the podcast
Mentioned in the podcast were:
The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy by Maggie Berg and Barbara K Seeber
The Guardian (2012) Top five regrets of the dying.
For more information on the environmental benefits of working less read Stop the clock (commissioned by the 4 Day Week campaign, written by Platform London)
For more information on degrowth:
Less is More by Jason Hickel
The Future is Degrowth by Matthias Schmelzer, Andrea Vetter, and Aaron Vansintjan
The Case for Degrowth by Giorgos Kallis, Susan Paulson, Giacomo D’Alisa, Federico Demaria
This post is opinion-based and does not reflect the views of the London School of Economics and Political Science or any of its constituent departments and divisions.