10th „ Scientific Coffee Session Human-Forest-Relationship (HFR)” with Anna Ott on “Sámi reindeer herders’ fight for preserving and renewing”  | 04 Oct 2023 | 13-15 CET / 14-16 EEST

We warmly invite you to join our 10th “Scientific Coffee HFR” session if you are interested in the research about Human Forest Relationships or are even active in the field yourself.

If you want to join, please contact: judith.kiss@uni-jena.de and a Zoom link will be sent to you shortly before the session.

What is it about?

10th English “Scientific Coffee Human-Forest-Relationships”

04. October 2023
13-15 CET / 14-16 EEST

Input: Anna Ott (Finnish Environment Institute SYKE)

Title: Sámi reindeer herders’ fight for preserving and renewing – An analysis of the conflict over forest in the Sámi homeland


Old-grown forests in the Sámi homeland are key reindeer pasture areas (Ott, 2019), but Sámi are not the only ones laying claims to these forests. Sámi have therefore found themselves repeatedly and since early 2000s increasingly in conflict over forests (Raitio, 2008; Saarikoski and Raitio, 2013). This presentation summarizes research that explored the newest conflict developments involving Sámi reindeer herders, state-owned enterprise Metsähallitus, and Inari common forest. Data gathered during fieldwork in Aanaar (Inari) and Helsinki, including interviews, news articles, and fieldnotes on exhibitions at Siida Museum and dance performance ‘Matriarkaatti, was analyzed to establish what is at stake for different conflicting parties and how Forest Steward Council (FSC) certification scheme impacts on the conflict. Two narratives were found that perform different conflict realities but highlight similarly that questions regarding land ownership and land use lie at the core of the conflict. Applying a political ontology lens (e.g., Blaser, 2009; de la Cadena, 2010) and drawing on literature discussing alternatives to development (e.g., Kothari et al. 2019), the two narratives were analyzed to show how the conflict over forests is a conflict of clashing ontologies and perceptions of development. The narrative constructed by Sámi reindeer herders is grounded in a relational ontology that highlights the radical interdependence of all entities that make up the world, and it proposes an alternative way of governing, using, and engaging with nature. Sámi have thus been found to challenge the modern ontology and the hierarchical dualisms that underlie the second narrative and that legitimize the continued exploitation of nature and continued existence of colonial power relations. While the FSC certification scheme favors scientific knowledge over other ways of knowing, Sámi have claimed it to their benefit and have applied it as a worldmaking tool. FSC certification scheme was thus found to reveal the pluriverse.


Anna Ott has been working as a researcher at the Finnish Environment Institute for 3,5 years. Her research focuses on how to address existing injustices and prevent new injustices from arising when transitioning towards more sustainable societies. She is further a doctoral candidate at the University of Lapland and enrolled in the doctoral program “Arctic in a Changing World”. Her doctoral thesis has the preliminary title “Ontological multiplicity in the Sámi homeland and alternative approaches to environmental crisis” and it explores how in the Sámi homeland, different ontologies are performed into being and with what consequences. It aims to promote onto-epistemological justice to Sámi and to highlight the transformative potential of Sámi ways of knowing, doing, and being. More info on her academic work: https://www.syke.fi/en-US/Experts/Anna_Ott(64689)


Scientific Coffee Human-Forest-Relationships

Let’s sit and talk in the scientific café! The “Scientific Coffee HFR” sessions give room for open and relaxed discussions on current research subjects related to human and society relations to forests. It warmly welcomes all interested in forest-related research to join online sessions.

Each session lasts approximately two hours. It starts with a 30-minute presentation by a guest speaker. After the presentation, with coffee or tea and cookies at hand, participants have plenty of room for an open discussion and exchange.

The “Scientific Coffee HFR” takes place two to three times per semester on Wednesday afternoons.

Guest speakers wanted! If you are interested in contributing to the “Scientific Coffee HFR”, please contact either judith.kiss@uni-jena.de or tuulikki.halla@uef.fi with info on your subject (title and short abstract) and a preferred Wednesday (13-15 CET / 14-16 EET).

The idea for a scientific coffee HFR came up during a cooperation between Finnish and German researchers in 2021. The Finnish research project Human-Forest Relationships in Societal Change and the German research group Mentalities im Flux (flumen) organized the workshop “Contested Society-Nature-Relations. Forest related Emotions, Practices & Conflicts in Times of Societal Change” in May 2021. The first “Scientific Coffee HFR” session was held in September 2021.

The “Scientific Coffee HFR” is organized by:

“Klimakleber, Heizungshammer, SUV mania: What is the conflict about a liveable future all about?” – Survey presentation and panel discussion on 21 September 2023

Presentation of the “BioMentalitäten” survey by the BMBF junior research group flumen followed by a panel discussion.

On 21 September 2023 at 6-7:30 p.m. in the Rosensäle (R 101), Fürstengraben 27, Jena

Many people are concerned about nature and our future on this planet. At the same time, most people shy away from the idea of a comprehensive change in lifestyle, which scientists now consider inevitable in order to be able to mitigate the climate and biodiversity crisis and to cope with its consequences. Moreover, not only in politics, but also among the population, groups with opposing ideas and approaches seem to be increasingly irreconcilable. This is evident in recent times in an increasing number of contended issues: Climate protests, energy transition, renaturation of agricultural land, speed limit, phasing out the internal combustion engine. These issues are not only about what social changes are necessary, but also about different ideas of freedom and prosperity, different expectations of justice, social and political participation, in short: the diverse ideas of a good life and the question of whether this is threatened by the measures under discussion. The different perception and evaluation of ecological issues and the positioning in these conflicts is closely related to how people are integrated in society, what they have to gain or lose, but also to the extent to which they feel seen, heard and effective in politics and the public sphere.

Answers to what the conflict about a future worth living is really about and whether it could divide society are provided by the “BioMentalities” survey of the BMBF junior research group “Mentalities in Flux (flumen)” at the Institute of Sociology at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, which will be presented and discussed at a public event in the Kleine Rosensäle (Fürstengraben 27) on 21 September 2023. First, the most important results of the survey will be presented, for which 4,000 people in Germany were interviewed in 2021 and 2022 about their socio-ecological attitudes and habits. The focus is on a “map” of socio-ecological mentalities, which shows how different parts of the population feel about concepts of a comprehensive transformation towards post-fossil production and lifestyles, how this relates to their respective position in society, and which lines of conflict can be identified from this.

Afterwards, Malene Gürgen (taz) will moderate a discussion between Dr. Dennis Eversberg (flumen), Prof. Dr. Daniela Gottschlich (Hochschule für Gesellschaftsgestaltung), Teresa Gärtner (ver.di Jena) and Robert Pauli (Klimaentscheid Jena) about pro-ecological and anti-ecological mentalities, social milieus and the social-ecological transformation conflict in society as a whole as well as on the ground in Jena and Thuringia.

The event will be in German.

Student employees of flumen accepted into the Honours Programme for research-oriented students

Guests at the opening of the Honours Programme (Moritz Harzbecher and Linda von Faber 5th and 4th from right, first row; Photo: Christoph Worsch)

Two student employees of flumen have been accepted into the Honours Programme for research-oriented students at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. This is an initial one-year grant to enable particularly committed students to gain in-depth insights into research processes during their studies, to give them a share in the scientific community and to prepare them for a scientific career. Funding is provided for Linda von Faber with Dr. Martin Fritz as supervisor and the topic “Bioenergy Villages: Paving the Way to a Postfossil Future?”, in which survey data from flumen will be analysed, as well as Moritz Harzbecher with Dr. Matthias Schmelzer and Dr. Jörg Oberthür as mentors and the project “Protest against urban sprawl: A socio-ecological transformation conflict?”, in which interviews are conducted with members of a protest alliance against urban sprawl and analysed against the background of the research perspective developed in flumen.

Further information on the funding programme is available here: https://www.uni-jena.de/honours-programm

Jana Holz, Lilian Pungas and Matthias Schmelzer at the 9th international Degrowth Conference in Zagreb, 29 August – 02 September

Jana Holz, Lilian Pungas and Matthias Schmelzer speak at the 9th international Degrowth Conference in Zagreb am 29 August – 02 September.

Session Overview:

Jana Holz

“Beyond fossil extractivism?” (with Anna Saave)

Lilian Pungas

“Degrowth Enthusiasm and the Eastern Blues” (with Gerrit von Jorck, Jana Gebauer)

“Degrowth from the East” (with Thomas Smith, Eva Fraňková, Ottavia Cima)

Matthias Schmelzer

“Degrowing concrete – On the history and future of the world’s most used and most destructive material”

“Planning Beyond Growth: the case for economic democracy within limits”
(with Elena Hofferberth, Cédric Durand)

“Ecological reparations and degrowth: Towards a convergence of alternatives around world-making after growth”
(with Tonny Nowshin)


We invite you to the 9th International Degrowth Conference, which will be held in Zagreb, Croatia from August 29 to September 2, 2023!

Zagreb is a city whose local government is headed by former degrowth conference speakers. By connecting degrowth’s international audience with the realities of a semi-peripheral capital developing new justice and sustainability pathways, the degrowth movement will broaden its scope and affirm its position in the everyday lives of European citizens.  

To maximize networking and impact, the Conference will include a city-wide Degrowth Week alongside its research and activist part. The events and activities will take place at the Zagreb Fair, a valuable space and project from the socialist period which will host all the Conference sessions, the Museum of Contemporary Art, where we will have our opening ceremony, and the Youth Culture Centre „Ribnjak“, situated in one of the city’s most beautiful parks, which will house the festival part. 

The Zagreb conference will feature prominent keynote speakers – Kohei Saito, Roland Ngam, Diana Ürge-Vorsatz, Paul Stubbs, and Karin Doolan – and a couple of hundred scholars from around the world eager to discuss different aspects of a believable degrowth future. 

The day before the Conference opening – on Monday, August 28 – the 4thInternational Assembly of the Degrowth Movement will take place in the Youth Culture Centre “Ribnjak”, with plans to deliberate on the aims and organisation of the degrowth movement (more information here).

The Degrowth Week will include events such as an environmental film festival, a one-day activist-artistic festival, the presentation of the work of a thematic network for low carbon transition cooperation (METAR), and a number of activist/practitioner panels, presentations and workshops.

Since the call for proposals is closed, we invite anyone whose paper/presentation/workshop was accepted to register if they still haven’t (the regular conference fee is available until May 31 – https://odrast.hr/faq/#payment-accepted). If you don’t have a presentation and would still like to attend the conference, we invite you to register as well (https://odrast.hr/faq/#payment-participants) – the number of tickets is limited and will be granted on a first come, first served basis.

The LOC is currently working at full capacity to coordinate the Conference and the Degrowth Week program. After the program has been publish, in June, we will open a call for volunteers. We will be looking for volunteers to work on tasks in preparing the conference (knowledge of Croatian will probably be required), and for volunteers to manage the conference (English will be a must). All volunteers can expect free access to all Conference events. 

Please follow our webpage and social media accounts for more information and Conference news:


We can’t wait to welcome you in Zagreb!


Zagreb LOC

New Publication by Jonathan Friedrich, Jana Holz, Philip Koch, Lilian Pungas, Dennis Eversberg and Jana Zscheischler (2023): Rural bioeconomies in Europe: Socio-ecological conflicts, marginalized people and practices

The article “Rural bioeconomies in Europe: Socio-ecological conflicts, marginalized people and practices” was written by flumen-researchers Jana Holz, Philip Koch, Lilian Pungas and Dennis Eversberg in collaboration with the scientists Jonathan Friedrich and Jana Zscheischler from the ZALF (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research) and published in GAIA. GAIA is a transdisciplinary journal that publishes on ecological perspectives for science and society.


Bioeconomy policies claim to contribute to socio-ecological transformations and decreasing rural-urban inequalities. Based on examples of four bioeconomies in rural Europe, we argue that contrary to these claims, such policies to date have not de-escalated existing social conflicts but instead have often further contributed to polarization tendencies. To live up to those proclaimed goals, bioeconomy research and policy need to deprioritize economic growth and turn to more comprehensive considerations of socio-ecological contexts and the integration of the local population and alternative practices.

To the Article

New Publication by Jana Holz and Philip Koch (2023): Wie die Bioökonomie versucht nachhaltig zu sein – eine Diskussion am Beispiel der europäischen Bioökonomiepolitik und der finnischen Forstwirtschaft

The article “How the Bioeconomy Attempts to be Sustainable – A Discussion Using the Example of European Bioeconomy Policy and Finnish Forestry” (original in German) by Jana Holz and Philip Koch is part of the anthology “Dilemmas of Sustainability” edited by Henkel et al. (2023).

To the article

New Publication by Lilian Pungas (2023): Degrowth Enthusiasm and the Transformation Blues of the East: Reflections on Integrating Post-socialist Transformation Experiences into the Degrowth Discourse

The Working Paper No. 215/2023 from the Institute for International Political Economy Berlin at the Berlin School of Economics and Law was authored by Lilian Pungas in collaboration with Jana Gebauer and Gerrit von Jorck.


This paper traces the links between post-socialist transformations and the degrowth movement. Based on a series of workshops entitled “Degrowth Enthusiasm and the Eastern Blues” that we organised in recent years, this paper focuses on the following questions: what can we learn from the state-socialist societies’ transformation processes into capitalist societies? What experiences and practices before and after these transformations can potential degrowth societies build on? To what extent can people’s experiences with an alternative system and its transformation contribute to unfolding their potential in a social-ecological transformation and to overcoming ‘change fatigue’? We present key findings from our workshops, which we combined with our own empirical evidence from Estonia and a theoretical examination of (post-)socialist economics to form six theses that we consider essential for a decolonial degrowth debate.

To the Article

Lecture by Martin Fritz at the colloquium on the history of science at the Ernst-Haeckel-Haus of the FSU Jena, 22 June 2023

The Ernst-Haeckel-Haus, Jena (Source: indeedous/Wikimedia Commons)

On 22.06.2023 Martin Fritz will give a talk at the colloquium on the history of science at the Ernst-Haeckel-Haus of the University of Jena entitled “A cartography of the social-ecological transformation in Germany: Exploring interconnections between classes, mentalities and practices”. The results of the relational analyses of the survey data of flumen will be presented and discussed with the participants.

Presentation by Martin Fritz and Linda von Faber at KSG Erfurt on “Inequalities in the context of energy crisis and socio-ecological transformation”, 31 May 2023.

On 05/31/2023, Martin Fritz and Linda von Faber presented flumen’s research at the Catholic Student Community in Erfurt. They gave a lecture on “Inequalities in the context of energy crisis and socio-ecological transformation” and afterwards discussed with the students about mentalities, ways of living and possibilities to cope with the double challenge of increasing inequalities and ecological crises.