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Sustainability Science

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 451–462 | Cite as

Degrowth, postdevelopment, and transitions: a preliminary conversation

Special Feature: Review Article Socially Sustainable Degrowth as a Social-Ecological Transformation
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Special Feature: Socially Sustainable Degrowth as a Social-Ecological Transformation

Abstract

This paper seeks to initiate a conversation between degrowth (DG) and postdevelopment (PD) frameworks by placing them within the larger field of discourses for ecological and civilizational transitions and by bridging proposals emerging from the North with those from the Global South. Not only can this dialogue, it is argued, be mutually enriching for both movements but perhaps essential for an effective politics of transformation. Part I of the paper presents a brief panorama of transition discourses (TDs), particularly in the North. Part II discusses succinctly the main postdevelopment trends in Latin America, including Buen Vivir (BV), the rights of Nature, civilizational crisis, and the concept of ‘alternatives to development’. With these elements in hand, Part III attempts a preliminary dialogue between degrowth and postdevelopment, identifying points of convergence and tension; whereas they originate in somewhat different intellectual traditions and operate through different epistemic and political practices, they share closely connected imaginaries, goals, and predicaments, chiefly, a radical questioning of the core assumption of growth and economism, a vision of alternative worlds based on ecological integrity and social justice, and the ever present risk of cooptation. Important tensions remain, for instance, around the critique of modernity and the scope for dematerialization. This part ends by outlining areas of research on PD that could be of particular interest to degrowth scholars. The conclusion, finally, envisions the dissolution of the very binary of ‘Global North’ and ‘Global South’ by adopting a pluriversal perspective.

Keywords

Degrowth Postdevelopment Transitions Civilizational crisis Global South 

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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, CB 3115University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Grupo de Investigación Nación/Cultura/MemoriaUniversidad del ValleCaliColombia

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