An Overview of Degrowth Research

This excellent overview of degrowth research will be published in the Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Volume 43, October 2018 (22 May 2018)

Authors: Giorgos Kallis, 1,2; Vasilis Kostakis, 3,4; Steffen Lange, 5; Barbara Muraca, 6; Susan Paulson, 7; and Matthias Schmelzer 8

1. ICTA, Autonomous University of Barcelona, 08193 Barcelona, Spain; email: giorgoskallis@gmail.com
2. ICREA, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
3. Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation & Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia kostakis.b@gmail.com
4. Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA
5. Institute for Ecological Economy Research, 10785 Berlin, Germany; email: steffen.lange@ioew.de
6. College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA; email: barbara.muraca@oregonstate.edu
7. Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA; email: spaulson@latam.ufl.edu
8. DFG Research Group, University of Jena, Zurich CH-8001, Switzerland; email: matthias.schmelzer@uhz.de

Abstract

Scholars and activists increasingly use the term degrowth when producing knowledge critical of the ideology and costs of growth-based development. Degrowth signals a radical political and economic reorganization leading to reduced resource and energy use. The degrowth hypothesis posits that such a trajectory of social transformation is necessary, desirable, and possible; the conditions of its realization require additional study. Research on degrowth has reinvigorated the limits to growth debate with critical examination of the historical, cultural, social, and political forces that have made economic growth a dominant objective. Here we review studies of economic stability in the absence of growth and of societies that have managed well without growth. We reflect on forms of technology and democracy compatible with degrowth and discuss plausible openings for a degrowth transition. This dynamic and productive research agenda asks inconvenient questions that sustainability sciences can no longer afford to ignore.

CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION . . . . . .. . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4.2
2. HISTORY: ORIGINS OF THE GROWTH PARADIGM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.4
3. ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS: THE LIMITS OF GREEN GROWTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.6
4. MANAGING WITHOUT GROWTH: THE ECONOMICS OF DEGROWTH . . . . .  . . . . . 4.8
5. ANTHROPOLOGY & SOCIAL SCIENCES: STUDIES OF SOCIETIES LIVING WITHOUT GROWTH . . . . . . 4.11
6. TECHNOLOGY STUDIES AND DEGROWTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.13
7. POLITICAL SCIENCE: DEMOCRACY AND DEGROWTH . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . 4.16
8. CONCLUSION: A DEGROWTH TRANSITION? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.18

https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-102017-025941

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