Transitions: Envisioning Alternatives to the Age of Collapse

Guest Editor:
Eduardo Gudynas
Latin American Centre for Social Ecology (CLAES)

We are facing an ongoing crisis in several fields and on various overlapping, intertwined scales. As examples, we can name the international crises in capital flows, all the while countries are getting into substantial debt, global climate change is occurring concomitantly with local environmental impacts, such as loss of biodiversity, Europe is waging a war with the reverberations being felt across Latin America and other continents. These situations are seen in various social and widespread environmental issues, running from local to global scale.

In the face of these circumstances, manifold alternatives have been disseminated, embodied in examples, trials, or experiences. Among them, we are seeing an increasing number being presented as transitions, which trigger a number of debates, political motions, and management plans. The term is not new, since we need to recall other uses, such as the discussions on “transitions to socialism” that were so intense in the 1960s and 1970s, or the “transitions to capitalism” that spread across Eastern Europe in the 1990s following the fall of real socialism. In the last few years, other signifiers, some more narrowed down, like those focusing in power sourcing and use, the steps to prevent climate change, or ways out of extractivisms. But others propose alternatives to capitalism, or socialism, and are even advocated as paths towards Good Living and other analogous stances. Those alternatives have been promoted by governments, citizens, scholars, and even international agencies. We should not forget that this discussion is taking place both in the global North and South.

From the global South, initiatives and debates revolving around good living, joyful living, post-development, alternatives to modernity, extractivism or food sovereignty are taken up in a tone of «discourses of transition» by several authors. Degrowth, Anthropocene, ontological turn, eco-feminism, and some autonomic experiences make up some conceptualizations and proposals in the global North that can be also understood as “transition discourses”. Everybody stresses the urgency of a substantial change in the relationship between humans and non-humans in our present time, in the age of collapse.

In this Tabula Rasa issue, we are expecting to receive different contributions that allow us to access in-depth analysis, discussions, and assessments of several aspects and components regarding the different versions of transitions. Basically, we hope to receive submissions addressing the varied conceptual contents gathered under the term “transitions,” such as the meanings of the word, the programs and proposals that have been presented under that term, etc. Likewise, we are interested in publishing similarities and differences, links and articulations between the notions of transitions and other key concepts, such as development, progress, good living, future, etc. We welcome all reviews entering into a dialogue with past uses of the concept, like transitions to socialism, and their employment across Latin America, such as with the theory of dependency.

From political theory and philosophy, we expect articles on the immeasurabilities, confluences, and strains that transitions have with political traditions better known, such as socialism, capitalism, and (neo)liberalism, and other lesser known but now emerging, such as anarchism. Besides these more theoretical contributions, we find pertinent for this issue, articles accounting for programs, both in their content and purpose, dealing with the various proposals of transitions, as presented by civil society organizations, academia, or political partisan groups, as well as links, potentialities and constraints between transitions and public policies, the conceptual reformulation of public policies, the role of the State, etc. Finally, we consider relevant any work addressing the geopolitics of knowledge and asymmetrical flows in the world-system of the different views on transitions, from the global North, governments, and companies with their implications in formulations in the global South, especially in Latin America.

For further information or to submit complete articles along with an abstract (in English or Spanish), please write to:

Eduardo Gudynas

or to the journal’s e-mail:

Deadline for article submission: October 15, 2023.

Submissions should be previously unpublished, and complying with the journal’s guidelines:

All documentation