This year's Summer School is all about utopias and transformation. The focus lies on labour, economic power structures and institutions. Together we want to reconsider what's possible and what insights can be gained from a pluralist perspective on transformation.

In the afternoon renowned researchers and experts are going to introduce us to different aspects and perspectives directly linked to this year's topic. In the morning, there are different workshop formats and collaborative spaces enabling a participatory knowledge production.


Our schedule for the week (scroll left / right):


Photo of Torsten Geelan

Torsten is an incoming Lecturer in Economic Sociology and the Future of Work at the University of Bristol. He’s currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen, leading his Eco-Unions project. The project investigates the role of Danish and British trade unions in just transitions to a low-carbon economy and crosses insights from industrial relations, environmental labour studies, and environmental sociology. Torsten is also co-founder and co-chair of the Alternatives to Capitalism Research Network at the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) and co-editor of a new Bristol University Press book series titled Alternatives to Capitalism in the 21st Century. As a public speaker, he’s regularly invited to give talks and lectures to research centres, trade union movements, and student societies.

Photo of Katharina Bodirsky

Katharina Bodirsky is a political and economic anthropologist who is currently teaching at the University of Konstanz. Among other research interests, she has turned in the past few years to studies of the commons and commoning as paths towards a post-capitalist future. She felt that research and education that exclusively engages with what goes wrong in our world today might end up demotivating us in our wish for transformation. This wish however does not preclude constructive criticism of attempts at transformation, and she engages with the potential of commoning in this spirit. Born and raised in a rural area in the South of Germany, Katharina lived in New York, Berlin, and Ankara before coming to Konstanz. Her perspective on the commons is informed by her experiences in these different places.

Photo of Lara Monticelli

Lara Monticelli is Assistant Professor at the Department of Business Humanities and Law at Copenhagen Business School (Denmark). She holds a master’s degree in Economics and Social Sciences (Bocconi University, Milan) and a Ph.D. in Economic Sociology (University of Brescia). Lara’s interdisciplinary research is centered around the study of contemporary capitalism, its crises, and its alternatives and draws from sociology, social theory, political economy, and the critical humanities.

Her recently completed EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie project, titled ‘EcoLabSS – Ecovillages as Laboratories of Sustainability and Social Change’, focuses on the (re)emergence of community-based, prefigurative social movements (e.g. sustainable communities, eco-villages, transition towns, solidarity networks) as living laboratories experimenting with practices of resilience and resistance to environmental, economic and societal challenges. Lara is especially interested in how these movements re-politicize and re-configure everyday life, thus representing radical attempts to embody a critique to contemporary capitalism and prefigure alternative, sustainable futures.

Since 2017, Lara is the co-founder and co-chair of the international research network 'Alternatives to Capitalism' within the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) and co-editor of the ground-breaking book series ‘Alternatives to Capitalism in the 21st Century’ at Bristol University Press. Her latest edited volume is titled ‘The Future is Now. An Introduction to Prefigurative Politics’ (2022).

Photo of Jan Groos

Jan Groos is a researcher, filmmaker and podcaster. He is a research associate in the DFG project 'The Governance of Algorithms' at the Department of Sociological Theory at Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel. As part of his podcast 'Future Histories', Jan explores the expansion of our idea of the future.

Photo of Jeff Althouse

Jeff is a research associate with the Université Sorbonne Paris Nord. His academic research attempts to highlight the key macroeconomic obstacles to creating more harmonious human-nature relations and illuminate pathways forward. His work focuses primarily on how social power transforms environments in uneven ways across the globe, particularly at the expense of vulnerable and historically marginalized groups. He specializes in the role of monetary and financial institutions to both constrain and enable more sustainable outcomes. Jeff has worked as an economist for the World Bank and the Banque de France, where he conducted research to assess the macro-financial risks associated with intensifying environmental degradation and policies for the sustainability transition. Before this, he held teaching positions at Université Sorbonne Paris Nord (USPN) and Sciences Po. He holds a PhD in economics from USPN and a joint master's degree in international economics from both USPN and the Berlin School of Economics and Law.

🕑 Stay tuned, more speakers will be announced soon :) 🕓

Basics workshops

The Basics on Pluralism (yellow slots in the schedule) equip participants with the tools and background knowledge on pluralism within economics. You will meet your Basics group at the beginning of the week and stick with them until you do the check-out on the last day. This means that you will spend some time in this group and get to know the other participants, discuss the preparation material and inputs with them, and hopefully even find some new friends. In terms of content there are three tracks.

Basics 1 starts on Sunday with an introduction of different ontologies of economic transformation. From there we proceed with a comparison of different quantitative and qualitative research methods on Monday, and end with a discussion of the historical and disciplinary boundaries of economics and the role of current student movements on Wednesday.

Basics 2 starts with an introduction to a variety of heterodox models on Sunday and proceeds with a discussion of empirical research approaches in their relation to theory on Monday. In the final session on Wednesday, we will reflect on the knowledge social scientists produce and the relationship of researchers to the people they study.

CoLab: For those participants that want to start a collaborative (research) project, there will be a space to do so at the same time as the basics courses. This space is reserved for participants that are either interested in starting a project or for participants that already joined our Summer School at least once (and are interested in doing collaborative research projects).

Participant workshops

On Tuesday and Thursday morning (orange slots in the schedule), participants are given the space to hold their own workshops or present academic and activist projects they are currently working on. Topics could look like: An introduction to different forms of cooperatives, a discussion on the specific challenges of implementing a degrowth economy in Switzerland, or different how-to-workshops (...e.g., how to organize your own Summer School or academic lecture series).

Participants interested in holding a workshop are not expected to be a researcher or expert on the topic. (After all this format is aimed at breaking hierarchies in the academic knowledge production.) Instead participants are expected to create a sound didactic concept: Preferably your workshop is designed as participative as possible and contains refreshing hands-on elements.

After we reviewed the applications, participants will receive more information as well as the opportunity to share their workshop ideas and concepts.

Preparation materials

Coming soon :)