Research Interests

Foto: Anne Günther-Mitsching

Social and economic history; international political economy; neoliberalism; growth critique and degrowth; social movements; capitalism; utopias and visions of the future; social-ecological transformation

Research within the Research Group

Primary responsibility:
Qualitative historical study on mentality transformations in the transition from pre-fossil-based to fossil-based societies (Module C)

In cooperation with other group members:
Theory and synthesis work (Module D)

Contact

matthias.schmelzer@uni-jena.de 

Vita

Since 2019
Researcher at the Institute for Sociology of the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
Since 2018
Lecturer at the University of Zurich
2015-2019
Permanent fellow at the DFG-Research Group “Postgrowth Societies” at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
Since 2015
Work at the Laboratory for New Economic Ideas (Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie) in Leipzig
2015-2016
Research assistant at the Research Centre for Social and Economic History at the University of Zurich
2013-2015
Researcher at the Paul Bairoch Institute for Economic History at the University of Geneva and lecturer at the Humboldt-University Berlin
2009-2013
PhD program at the European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder)
2000-2008
Studies in history, political science, economics and philosophy at the Humboldt-University Berlin and the University of California, Berkeley

Academic Teaching

SoSe 2021
FSU Jena: „Nachhaltigkeit und gesellschaftliche Transformation“, Research colloquium, online (with Dennis Eversberg, Martin Fritz, Jana Holz, Philip Koch, Lilian Pungas, & Anne Stein)
WiSe 2019/20
FSU Jena: „Bourdieu meets Greta Thunberg: Grundlagen der sozial-ökologischen Mentalitätsforschung“, Seminar for sociology students in the Master’s degree at FSU Jena (with Dennis Eversberg, Martin Fritz, Jana Holz, & Lilian Pungas)
WiSe 2019/20
FSU Jena: „Nachhaltigkeit und gesellschaftliche Transformation“, Research colloquium ( withDennis Eversberg, Martin Fritz, Jana Holz, Philip Koch & Lilian Pungas)
SoSe 2019
University of Zurich: “Coal, climate, capitalism: Mentalities of escalation in the history of expanding modernity”
SoSe 2018
University of Zurich: “Higher, faster, further? The idea of economic growth from the 17th century to the present day”
WiSe 2016/17
University of Zurich: “Sputnik, business cycles, experts and transnational networks” (together with Dr. Anne Rohstock).
WiSe 2015/16
Humboldt-University Berlin: “Global history of flight and expulsion in the 19th and 20th centuries” (together with Dr. Heike Wieters).
SoSe 2014
Humboldt-University Berlin: “International organizations in the 19th and 20th centuries, between war and peace, above and below, East and West” (together with Dr. Heike Wieters).
SoSe 2011
European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder): “Introduction to economic history” (together with Prof. Alexander Nützenadel).

Publications

More information also available here.

BOOKS

2020. Zukunft für alle: Eine Vision für 2048: gerecht. ökologisch. machbar. München: oekom (with Kai Kuhnhenn, Anne Pinnow and Nina Treu). More info here.

2019. Degrowth/Postwachstum zur Einführung. Hamburg: Junius-Verlag (with Andrea Vetter).

2016. The Hegemony of Growth. The OECD and the Making of the Economic Growth Paradigm. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. More info here

2011. Postwachstum, Krise, ökologische Grenzen, soziale Rechte. Hamburg: VSA-Verlag (with Alexis Passadakis).

2010. Freiheit für Wechselkurse und Kapital. Die Ursprünge neoliberaler Währungspolitik und die Mont Pèlerin Society. Marburg: Metropolis-Verlag.

EDITED BOOKS AND SPECIAL ISSUES

2020. Degrowth in Movement(s). Exploring pathways for transformation, ed. with Corinna Burkart and Nina Treu. London: Zero Books.

2018. Entwachstum – Utopie, Konturen und Spannungen des Degrowth-Spektrums, special issue of the Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen 31(4)ed. with Dennis Eversberg and Gabriele Schmidt. More info here and here

2017. History of the Future of Economic Growth. Historical roots of current debates on sustainable degrowth (Routledge Studies in Ecological Economics Series), ed. with Iris Borowy, London: Routledge. More info here

2017. The OECD and the Global Political Economy, 1948 to Present, ed. with Matthieu Leimgruber, London: Palgrave Macmillan. More info here

2017. Degrowth in Bewegung(en). 32 alternative Wege zur sozial-ökologischen Transformation, ed. with Nina Treu and Corinna Burkhart, München: oekom. More info here

2011. Ökologische Gerechtigkeit. Soziale Rechte. Gutes Leben, ed. with Werner Rätz, Tanja von Egan-Krieger, Barbara Muraca, Alexis Passadakis and Andrea Vetter, Hamburg: VSA-Verlag.

JOURNAL ARTICLES

2019. „Gekoppelt wird ein Schuh draus: Green New Deal versus Degrowth“, Politische Ökologie, 31-37 (with Elena Hofferberth).

2018. „Research on Degrowth”, Annual Review of Environment and Resources 43, 291-316 (with Giorgos Kallis, Vasilis Kostakis, Steffen Lange, Barbara Muraca, Susan Paulson).

2018. „The Degrowth Spectrum: Convergence and Divergence within a Diverse and Conflictual Alliance”, Environmental Values 27, 245–267 (with Dennis Eversberg).

2018. „Editorial: Entwachstum – Utopie, Konturen und Spannungen des Degrowth-Spektrums”, Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen 31(4), 3–8 (with Dennis Eversberg and Gabriele Schmidt).

2018. „Revolution Predigen, Karottensaft Trinken? Zum Zusammenhang von Strömungen, Lebensstilen und Aktivismus im Degrowth-Spektrum”, Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen 31(4), 26–36 (with Dennis Eversberg).

2018. „Degrowth & Postwachstum”, PERIPHERIE 150/151(38), 336–339.

2017. „Beyond Growth, Capitalism, and Industrialism? Consensus, Divisions and Currents within the Emerging Movement for Sustainable Degrowth”, Interface: A Journal for and about Social Movements 9(1), 327–356 (with Dennis Eversberg).

2017. „Mehr als Weniger: Erste Überlegungen zur Frage nach dem Postwachstumssubjekt”, Psychosozial 40(2), 83-100 (with Dennis Eversberg).

2017. „’Born in the corridors of the OECD’: The forgotten origins of the Club of Rome and the unraveling of the postwar confidence in economic growth”, Journal of Global History 12(1), 26-48.

2016. „Über die Selbstproblematisierung zur Kapitalismuskritik. Vier Thesen zur entstehenden Degrowth-Bewegung”, Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen 29(1), 9-17 (with Dennis Eversberg).

2015. „’Expandiere oder stirb’. Das Wachstumsparadigma, die OECD, und wie die Erwartung exponentiellen Wirtschaftswachstums sich durchsetzte”, Geschichte und Gesellschaft 41(3), 355-393.

2015. „Entwickelter Norden, unterentwickelter Süden? Wissenseliten, Entwicklungshilfe und die Konstruktion des Westens in der OEEC und OECD”, Comparativ – Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung 25(5), 18-35.

2015. „Marketing marketization: The power of neoliberal expert, consulting, and lobby networks”, Zeithistorische Forschungen/Studies in Contemporary History 12(3), 488-499 (with Dieter Plehwe).

2012. „The Crisis before the Crisis: The ‘Problems of Modern Society’ and the OECD, 1968-1974”, European Review of History 19(6)999-1020.

2010. „Marketing morals, moralizing markets. Assessing the effectiveness of Fair Trade as a form of boycott”, Management & Organizational History 5(2), 221-250.

CHAPTERS IN EDITED VOLUMES

2020. „‚All you talk about are fairy tales of eternal economic growth‘. Degrowth als konkrete Utopie für eine klimagerechte Zukunft“, in: Sozial-ökologische Utopien: Diesseits oder jenseits von Wachstum und Kapitalismus?, ed. by Benjamin Görgen, and Björn Wendt, München: oekom, 2020 (with Andrea Vetter).

2020. „Raus aus dem Elfenbeinturm! Mit der »Third Mission« zur Wachstumsunabhängigkeit“, in: Verantwortung übernehmen für eine bessere Welt, ed. by Lars Hochmann, 207–218, Murmann.

2020. „Stadt für alle jenseits des Wachstums: Was kann die Stadtforschung aus der Degrowthdebatte lernen?“ In Postwachstumsstadt: Konturen einer solidarischen Stadtpolitik, ed. by Anton Brokow-Loga and Frank Eckardt, 44–57, München: oekom (with Andrea Vetter).

2020. „What Comes After Bretton Woods? Neoliberals Debate and Fight for a Future Monetary Order”, in: Nine Lives of Neoliberalism, ed. by Philip Mirowski, Dieter Plehwe and Quinn Slobodian, London: Verso.

2019. „Degrowth und Männlichkeiten – Zur Geschlechtlichkeit des relationalen Postwachstumssubjekts”, in: Caring Masculinities? Auf der Suche nach Transformationswegen in eine demokratische Postwachstumsgesellschaft, ed. by Andreas Heilmann and Sylka Scholz, München: oekom (with Dennis Eversberg).

2019. „Zur Genese des Wachstumsparadigmas”, in: Transformationsgesellschaften: Zum Wandel gesellschaftlicher Naturverhältnisse, ed. by Michaela Christ, Bernd Sommer, and Klara Stumpf, Weimar: Metropolis.

2018. „The growth paradigm: History, hegemony, and the contested making of economic growthmanship”, in: Routledge Handbook of the History of Sustainability, ed. by Jeremy Caradonna, London and New York: Routledge.

2017. „Public Sociology in der Bewegungsforschung. Zum Verhältnis von Soziologie, Gesellschaftskritik und sozialen Bewegungen”, in Öffentliche Soziologie: Wissenschaft im Dialog mit der Gesellschaft, ed. by Brigitte Aulenbacher, Michael Burawoy, Klaus Dörre, and Johanna Sittel, 176-188, Frankfurt a.M.: Campus Verlag, 2017 (with Dennis Eversberg, Steffen Liebig and Nina Treu).

2017. „Introduction: The End of Economic Growth in Long-Term Perspective”, in History of the Future of Economic Growth. Historical roots of current debates on sustainable degrowth (Routledge Studies in Ecological Economics Series), ed. by Iris Borowy and Matthias Schmelzer, 1-26, London: Routledge (with Iris Borowy).

2017. „Sustainable Degrowth: Historical Roots of the Search for Alternatives to Growth in Three Regions”, in: History of the Future of Economic Growth. Historical roots of current debates on sustainable degrowth (Routledge Studies in Ecological Economics Series), ed. by Iris Borowy and Matthias Schmelzer, 174-197, London: Routledge (with Barbara Muraca).

2017. „Ohne Bewegungen keine Transformation: Das Mosaik der Alternativen als Kompass für Postwachstumspolitiken”, in: Postwachstumspolitiken Wege zur wachstumsunabhängigen Gesellschaft, ed. by Frank Adler and Ulrich Schachtschneider, 77-88, München: oekom (with Corinna Burkhart and Nina Treu).

2016. „Selbstveränderung, Kapitalismuskritik, Organisierung: Transformationspotentiale der Degrowth-Bewegung”, in: Wachstum – Krise und Kritik: Die Grenzen der kapitalistisch-industriellen Lebensweise, ed. by AK Postwachstum, 179–200, Frankfurt a.M: Campus Verlag.

2016. „’Die Vermessung ,der Wirtschaft’: Konstruktionen und Kontroversen in der internationalen Standardisierung der volkswirtschaftlichen Gesamtrechnung, 1940er- und 50er-Jahre”, in Die Innenwelt der Ökonomie. Wissen, Macht und Performativität in der Wirtschaftswissenschaft, ed. by Jens Maeße, Hanno Pahl, and Jan Sparsam, 287-310, Berlin: VS-Springer.

2015. „Gutes Leben statt Wachstum: Degrowth, Klimagerechtigkeit, Subsistenz – eine Einführung in die Begriffe und Ansätze der Postwachstumsbewegung”, in: Atlas der Globalisierung: Weniger wird mehr, ed. by Le Monde diplomatique and DFG-Kolleg Postwachstumsgesellschaften116-121, Berlin: Le Monde diplomatique.

2014. „A club of the rich to help the poor? The OECD, ‘development’, and the hegemony of donor countries”, in: International Organizations and Development, 1945 to 1990, ed. by Marc Frey, Soenke Kunkel, and Corinna Unger, 171-195, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

2013. „The Crisis before the Crisis: The ‘Problems of Modern Society’ and the OECD, 1968-1974”, in: Economic Crises and Global Politics in the 20th Century, ed. by Alexander Nützenadel and Cornelius Torp, 151–172, London: Routledge.

WORKING PAPER

2021. Fossile Mentalitäten. Zur Geschichte der fossilen Durchdringung moderner Vorstellungswelten. Working Paper No. 3, Mentalitäten im Fluss (flumen), Jena. URL: https://www.flumen.uni-jena.de/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Working-Paper-Nr.-3_Schmelzer-und-Buettner_Fossile-Mentalitaeten-Zur-Geschichte-der-fossilen-Durchdringung-moderner-Vorstellungswelten.pdf (together with Melissa Büttner)

LECTURES (SELECTION)

2021. The Critique of Growth in Historical Context. Lecture and discussion at the Environmental History Week der American Society for Environmental History (ASEH), 21.04.2020.

2021. The Critique of Growth in Historical Context. Paper discussion at the Workshop „The Ecology of Economic Thought“ of the Weatherhead Center, Harvard University, 03.02 2021.

2020. Wachstum über alles? Zur Geschichte des Wachstumsparadigmas, Lecture at the TU-Berlin, 30.11.2020.

2020. Anders Wirtschaften! Das Netzwerk Ökonomischer Wandel. Panel discussion at the congress „Zukunft für alle“, with Silke Helfrich, Christian Felber and Karin Walter, Leipzig, 27.08.2020.

2020. Inclusive Organizing in the Anthropocene: From Sustainability to Circularity to Degrowth, 36th EGOS Colloquium (European Group for Organizational Studies), with Andrea Brown, Karim Saagbul, Steffen Böhm and Alison Stowell, Hamburg, 03.07.2020.

2020. Wirtschaft ohne Wachstum, geht das? Diskussion zu Degrowth und Postwachstum. Lecture and discussion at the re:publica Campus, Berlin, 23.09.2020.

2020. Anders Wirtschaften Jetzt. Panel discussion organized by the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation and Netzwerk Ökonomische Wandel, with Christian Felber, Silke Helfrich, Friederike Habermann and Ulrike Herrmann, 11.06.2020.

2020. Degrowth in Movement(s), panel discussion at the conference “SCORAI – Sustainable Consumption and Social Justice in an Urbanizing World“, with Sam Bliss, Barbara Muraca and Meg Egler, Northeastern University School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Boston, 10.06.2020.

2020. Advancing a Degrowth Agenda in the Corona Crisis, Panel discussion at the conference “Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Strategies for Social-Ecological Transformation“, with Stefania Barca, Andro Rilović, Eeva Houtbeckers and Iris Frey, Wien, 29.05.2020.

2020. Book Launch of Degrowth in Movement(s), at the conference “Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Strategies for Social-Ecological Transformation“, with Nina Treu, Tadzio Müller, Julianna Fehlinger and Brototi Roy, Wien, 29.05.2020.

2019. How to Sustain Social Justice in the Current Context of Limited Growth? Panel at „European Business Summit“ (EBS) in Brussels (with André Sapir, Karl Pichelmann, Maria Demertzis), 06.05.2019.

2019. Postfossile Wirtschaft und Wachstum. Lecture at Universität der Künste in Berlin, 04.12.2019.

2019. Introduction to degrowth/postgrowth thinking from a South-North perspective. Lecture at „Symposio International: Pensamiento Ambietal y Alternativas al Desarollo” at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia – Sede Bogotá, 22.11.2019.

2019. Mehr Utopie wagen: Zukunftsvisionen einer Postwachstumsgesellschaft. Lecture at the conference „Great Transformation: On the future of modern societies“ in Jena, 26.09.2019.

2019. Kritische Männlichkeit. Lecture at the conference „Great Transformation: On the future of modern societies“ in Jena, 27.09.2019.

2019. Zukunft für alle 2048. In welcher Gesellschaft wollen wir leben? Und wie kommen wir dahin? Panel at the conference „Great Transformation: On the future of modern societies“ in Jena (with Anne Pinnow, Nina Treu), 26.09.2019.

2019. Postfossile Wirtschaft – postfossile Gesellschaft? Konturen des Sozialen nach Kohle und Öl. Panel at the conference „Great Transformation: Die Zukunft moderner Gesellschaften“ in Jena (with Lilian Pungas, Jana Holz), 25.09.2019.

2019. Imperiale Lebensweise und Degrowth. Workshop at RLS in Heidelberg (with Markus Wissen), 29.08.2019.

2019. Frequent Flyer Levy. Lecture at „Degrowth of Aviation conference“ in Barcelona, 13.07.2019.

2019. Degrowth und Fluchtlinien einer Postwachstumstadt. Keynote at the conference „Postwachstumsstadt“ at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, 10.05.2019.

2019. Book presentation for „Degrowth/Postwachstum zur Einführung“ (with Andrea Vetter) in several European cities (e.g. Berlin, Leipzig, Jena, Bayreuth, Flensburg, Wuppertal, Zurich, Lüneburg).

2018. Book presentation for „The Hegemony of Growth“ at Humanities and Social Sciences Association, University of California in Berkeley.

2018. Degrowth and the Global South. Lecture at Brandeis University, Waltham (with Tonny Nowshin).

2018. Postwachstum und Post-Kapitalismus? Über die Systemfrage. Lecture at the Annual Meeting of „Vereinigung Ökologische Ökonomik“ (VÖÖ) about „Vielfalt der Postwachstumsperspektiven“, Stuttgart.

2018. Opening keynote to introduce degrowth at the Degrowth Summer School (with Tonny Nowshin), Leipzig.

2017. Author meets Critics: Debate on The Hegemony of Growth. Lecture at University Copenhagen, CEMES (with Karen Gram-Skjoldager and Carl-Johan Dalgaard).

2017. Roundtable on Matthias Schmelzer‘s „The Hegemony of Growth“: The OECD and the Making of the Economic Growth Paradigm. At the 29th Annual EAEPE Conference at Corvinus University Budapest (with Matthieu Hughes, Gareth Dale, Jessica Lawrence and Richard Lane).

2016. Book presentation for „The Hegemony of Growth“ at MaxPo Center at SciencesPo in Paris.

2016. Keynote at the 5th International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity, Universität Budapest.

2016. Zwischen Kapitalismusreform und Postwachstumsökonomie – Wie kann ein zukunftsfähiges Wirtschaftssystem aussehen? Panel (with Ulrike Hermann) in Lettrétage Berlin.

2016. Book presentation for „The Hegemony of Growth“ at OECD in Paris, with an exhibition of the OECD archive. Video-recording: http://video.oecd.org/2134/or/NAEC-The-OECD-and-the-Making-of-the-Economic-Growth-Paradigm.html

2016. Keynote at Unconditional Basic Income and Degrowth Conference, Hamburg.

2016. Panel at the Sustainability Week of Zurich’s Universities (with Rudolf Minsch, Lucas Bretschger and Irmi Seidl).

2016. Panel at Heinrich-Böll Stiftung Saxony, Kleines Schauspielhaus Dresden (with Angelika Zahrnt, Marco Lehmann-Waffenschmidt, and MdB Dieter Janecek).

2016. Taming democracy and liberalizing capital. The contested origins of neoliberal monetary politics and its influence. Lecture at the conference More Roads from Mont Pèlerin – Neoliberalism Studies, Berlin Social Science Center.

2016. Presentation of an Article about the History of the OECD at the international conference Europe and International Organisations, 1918-1970s, University Copenhagen.

2015. ‘Born in the corridors of the OECD’: The forgotten origins of the Club of Rome and the unraveling of the postwar confidence in economic growth. Lecture at World Economic History Conference (WEHC) in Kyoto, Japan.

2015. Das Wachstumsparadigma: Geschichte und Hegemonie einer wirtschaftspolitischen Idee. Lecture at the lecture series about Degrowth economy, University Oldenburg.

2015. ‘Born in the corridors of the OECD’: The forgotten origins of the Club of Rome and the unraveling of the postwar confidence in economic growth. Lecture at History of Recent Economics (HISRECO), University Cergy-Pontoise, Paris.

2015. Promoting and questioning growth: The OECD and the remaking of the economic growth paradigm in postwar history. Lecture at OECD Seminar New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC), OECD Paris.

2014. Die Selbstevidenz des Wachstumsparadigmas. Hegemonie, Wirtschaftsexperten und internationale Organisationen. Lecture at Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science, Berlin.

2014. The hegemony of growth. The making and remaking of the economic growth paradigm and the OECD. Lecture at Centre Alexandre Koyré, Paris.

2014. ‘How undergrowthed do you consider your economy?’ Die OECD, ökonomische Experten und wie die Erwartung exponentiellen Wirtschaftswachstums sich durchsetzte. Lecture at Historikertag, Göttingen.

2014. A ‘watchdog’ watching itself? The historical origins and functioning of the OECD’s Aid Review Lecture at Fourth European Congress on World and Global History (ENUIGH) at École Normale Supérieure, Paris (with Patricia Hongler).

2014. More than a rational number cruncher: the OECD, political interests and restricted spaces. Lecture at University Basel.

2013. The ‘development of others’ and the hegemony of donors countries. The historical origins of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, Lecture at 8th pan-European Conference on International Relations, Warsaw.

2012. A ‘temple of growth’ in crisis? The production of economic and environmental policy norms within the OECD in the 1970s, Lecture at 9th European Social Science History conference (ESSHC) at Glasgow University, Schottland.

2010. Capital, finance, and investment in a degrowth economy, Lecture at 2nd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity, Barcelona (with Alexis Passadakis).