Journal Article

Discourses of degrowth: New value systems for global environmental governance?


The Global Environmental Politics literature tends to focus on institutional and governance frameworks as the solution to global environmental problems rather than on the systemic constraints that limit the potential effectiveness of governance efforts. Part of the problem with institutional frameworks to reform global environmental governance is insufficient attention paid to deeper structural challenges. We seek to contribute to these debates drawing on critical political ecology understood as a broad, interdisciplinary set of discourses and practices that goes to the roots of structural challenges. In particular, we focus on a broad area of research around degrowth. Usually, critical approaches are considered idealist. However, we argue that value changes are a vital component in the transition to a post-growth, post-capitalist world, which is inevitable given the biophysical and social limits to growth. While degrowth is not by any means on the verge of becoming a new dominant value system, it nevertheless presents both a coherent frame of reference as well as contains concrete examples of alternative ways of organizing society and the economy. Thus it offers important new value sets to the treasure chest of approaches wanting to bring about ecological and social change and thus a potentially important contribution to global environmental politics.

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Ford, Lucy
Kütting, Gabriela

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of Social Sciences


Year of publication: 2019
Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-05-14

CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.

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