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De-Growth Is Not a Liberal Agenda: Relocalisation and the Limits to Low Energy Cosmopolitanism

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Degrowth is identified as a prospective turning point in human development as significant as the domestication of fire or the process of agrarianisation. The Transition movement is identified as the most important attempt to develop a prefigurative, local politics of degrowth. Explicating the links between capitalist modernisation, metabolic throughput and psychological individuation, Transition embraces 'limits' but downplays the implications of scarcity for open, liberal societies, and for inter-personal and inter-group violence. William Ophuls' trilogy on the politics of scarcity confronts precisely these issues, but it depends on an unconvincing sociology of individuation as a central process in modernity. A framework is advanced through which to explore the tensions, trade-offs and possibilities for a socially liberal, culturally cosmopolitan and science-based civilisation under conditions of degrowth and metabolic contraction.
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Keywords: Jeffersonian; Norbert Elias; anthroposphere; civilising processes; communitarianism; cosmopolitanism; degrowth; liberalism; limits to growth

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2018) of 1.933. 5 Year Impact Factor: 2.493.
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