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How Far is Degrowth a Really Revolutionary Counter Movement to Neoliberalism?

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Capitalism is often modernised and stabilised by its very critics. Gramsci called this paradox a 'passive revolution'. What are the pitfalls through which critique becomes absorbed? This question is taken up using a Cultural Political Economy approach for analysing the resistant potential of 'degrowth discourses' against the neoliberal hegemony. Degrowth advocates an economy without growth in order to achieve the transformation that is necessary in ecological and social terms. It thus does not follow the neoliberal idea of green capitalism that already has absorbed much environmental critique. This paper argues that degrowth needs to be further differentiated in order to draw any conclusions about its counter-hegemonic potential. Three dimensions are identified for differentiating sub-hegemonic from counter-hegemonic degrowth positions: the mode of growth critique, the interpellation of the individual and the subsequent actions motivated.

Keywords: Neoliberalism; degrowth; hegemony; passive revolution; social ecological crisis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2020

This article was made available online on June 17, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "How Far is Degrowth a Really Revolutionary Counter Movement to Neoliberalism?".

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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 (2022) of 2.2. 5 Year Impact Factor: 2.5.
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