Beyond the “Decarbonization Consensus”: The Ethics and Practices of Sympoiesis


Venue: Iscte – University Institute of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Date: 13th-15th November 2024 (Presencial)
Deadline for submission of proposals: April 30st 2024
Organiser: Centre for International Studies (CEI-Iscte) – Iscte – University Institute of Lisbon (Portugal)


The shortcomings of mainstream environmental politics are contributing to a growing interest in the relational ethics and practices underlying the sympoietic processes (Haraway, 2016) by which humans and non-humans collectively produce autopoietic social-ecological systems. This includes the performance, by community-led initiatives (CLIs), as well as the translocal/transnational networks they create, of the role of “social learning spaces” where new and old modes of thought and tangible practices beyond extractivism and mastery of nature are experimented with, enacted, and coordinated (Egmose, Hauggaard-Nielsen and Jacobsen 2022).

Such interest is driven by the goal of shifting the metabolic profiles of societies towards regenerative and democracy-enhancing goals. This implies going beyond the “decarbonization consensus” (Bringel and Svampa 2023) by conceiving post-carbon transitions as social-ecological processes in which modes of thought, political ecologies, institutional processes, and experience-based social learning play equally relevant and interconnected parts.

We invite researchers, activists, community organisers, project managers, and policy administrators to submit proposals for contributions to this conference. We aim to promote interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspectives at theoretical, conceptual, and methodological levels. Submissions might be based on formal research or on concrete activist, economic or public policy initiatives.

The conference is structured around two interconnected topics:

  1. Ethics: The role of modes of thought that question instrumental approaches to social exchanges and relating to nature. This includes cosmologies, epistemologies, spiritualities/wisdom traditions, and cultural positions providing post-human, post-patriarchal, post-developmentalist and decolonial counterpoints to modernity, by re-signifying relationships with the non-rational dimensions of human existence, as well as the other-than-human dimensions of nature.

  2. Practices: The contribution of non-mainstream pedagogies, action research methodologies, and other engaged and participatory approaches to knowledge production and diffusion to democratic deepening by promoting, among social movements, policymakers and community-led initiatives, the enactment of emancipatory, participatory, and commoning-oriented practices in everyday life.

We will issue regular updates about the organisation of this conference via the event’s webpage ( ), e-mail and the social media accounts of CEI-Iscte (LinkedinFacebook and X). You can join our mailing list to receive notifications of open calls and submission deadlines directly by submitting this form. Any questions regarding the organisation of the conference or participation can be sent to

Proposal Submission Guidelines

  • paper abstracts (research papers or experience reports by practitioners or activists)
  • book presentation proposals on topics relevant to the two thematic fields of the conference
  • session proposals containing the name of presenters, as well as the title and complete abstract of each presentation

Please submit proposals by email to .
All proposals must have a maximum length of 500 words (including any references) and be submitted in .doc format. The content must be presented in Calibri format, size 12, single-spaced and justified.

Each individual author (or group of co-authors) is allowed to submit a maximum of two proposals.

Individual paper proposals should include:

In the case of an academic paper:

a) Title
b) Name and affiliation of author(s)
c) Abstract referring to the theoretical and methodological approach, the main argument, and a brief summary of conclusions/implications for research, activism or policymaking
d) Main references
e) Five keywords

In the case of an experience report by practitioners or activists:

a) Title
b) Name and affiliation of author(s)
c) Abstract containing: a short description of the experience; a brief context analysis; innovation in political, environmental or societal terms; main challenges; future trends
d) Main references
e) Five keywords

Book presentation proposals should include:

a) Title
b) Name and affiliation of author(s)
c) Extended abstract referring to the theoretical and methodological approach, the main argument, and a brief summary of conclusions/implications for research, activism or policy-making
d) Five keywords

Session proposals should include:

a) Title of the panel
b) Name and affiliation of author(s)
c) A brief (up to 300 words) statement summarising the rationale for the panel
d) Individual abstracts for each presentation (maximum 500 words each), referring to the theoretical and methodological approach, the main argument, a brief summary of conclusions/implications for research, activism or policy-making and main references.
e) Five keywords

In your proposal, please indicate whether you would like to submit a full paper for inclusion in the conference proceedings, which will be issued open access on a custom website hosted by the conference organisers and scheduled to go live during the first half of 2025.

Important dates

Deadline for submission of proposals – April 30st 2024
Notification of contributors – May 31st
Deadline for registration (conference presenters) – September 16th
Deadline for registration (non-presenters) – October 1st
Publication of final program – October 15th
Beginning of the conference – November 13th
Submission of full paper for peer review and publication: January 15th 2025

Conference registration


Steering Committee:

Ana Margarida Esteves (CEI-Iscte, Iscte)
Leonardo Leal (CEI-IUL; Universidade Federal de Alagoas– UFAL)
Luciane Lucas dos Santos (CES – U Coimbra
Tom Henfrey (Independent Scholar-Activist)
Roman Hausmann (Institute for Ecological Economics – Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria)