Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-n9wrp Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-22T15:30:00.587Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

28 - Possibilities for Degrowth: A Radical Alternative to the Neoliberal Restructuring of Growth-Societies

from Part VII - Social Movements

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 November 2020

Katharine Legun
Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands
Julie C. Keller
University of Rhode Island
Michael Carolan
Colorado State University
Michael M. Bell
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Get access


The neoliberal restructuring of society is presented in the paper as a renewed drive to enable the further expansion of the capitalistic mode of production threatened i.a. by the ecological crisis. Precisely because the warnings of the report to the Club of Rome “Limits to Growth,” sanctioning the end of the post-war dynamic stability rooted in economic growth and represented by Atlantic Fordism was taken very seriously by the economic elite, forces joined towards a radical restructuring of societies in order to unleash new possibilities for growth and profit accumulation. Neoliberal governmentality paradoxically embraces the challenge launched by Ecological Economists to focus on life as a productive and creative process and matures as a new mode of governing life that operate with and not against life’s power. Against the neoliberal stealth revolution, degrowth embodies a radical alternative project, both with respect to the substantial goals and to the mode of operation of neoliberal governmentality. In its heterogeneity, degrowth opens spaces for radical imaginaries, practices, and experiences that challenge the neoliberal, pervasive logic of growth and self-optimization, while experimenting possibilities for alternative subjectivities and new modes of being.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Aglietta, M. (2000). A Theory of Capitalist Regulation: The US Experience, London: Verso.Google Scholar
Asara, V. (2016). The Indignados as a Socio-Environmental Movement: Framing the Crisis and Democracy. Environmental Policy and Governance, 26, 527542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Asara, V., Otero, J., Demaria, F., & Corbera, E. (2015). Socially Sustainable Degrowth as a Social–Ecological Transformation: Repoliticizing Sustainability. Sustainability Science, 10 (3), 375384.Google Scholar
Balibar, E. (1995). The Infinite Contradiction. In Depositions: Althusser, Balibar, Macherey, and the Labor of Reading. Yale French Studies, 88, 142165.Google Scholar
Bataille, G. (1933). La Notion de dépense. Paris: Éditions Lignes.Google Scholar
Biesecker, A., & Hofmeister, S. (2010). (Re) Productivity: Sustainable Relations Both Between Society and Nature and Between The Genders. Ecological Economics 69 (8), 17031711.Google Scholar
Bloch, E. (1976). Das Prinzip Hoffnung, Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2005). The New Spirit of Capitalism. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society,18 (3–4), 161188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brown, W. (2015). Undoing the Demos. Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution. New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar
Burkhart, C., Schmelzer, M., & Treu, N. (eds.) (2020). Degrowth in Movement(s). Zero Books.Google Scholar
Butler, J. (1990). Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Butler, J. (1997). The Psychic Life of Power. Stanford: Stanford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Butler, J. (2004). Undoing Gender, New York. Routledge.Google Scholar
Caillé, A. (2004). Marcel Mauss et le paradigme du don. Sociologie et sociétés, 36 (2), 141176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Castoriadis, C. (1997). The Imaginary Institution of Society. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Castoriadis, C. (2010). A Society Adrift: Interviews and Debates, 1974–1997. New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
D’Alisa, G., Demaria, F., & Kallis, G. (eds.) (2014). Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era. Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
Dardot, P. (2011). La subjectivation à l’épreuve de la partition indivuel-collectif. Revue du Mauss, 83, 187210.Google Scholar
Dardot, P., & Laval, C. (2014). Commun. Essai sur la révolution au XXIème siècle. Paris: La Decouverte.Google Scholar
Dardot, P., & Laval, C. (2017). The New Way of the World: On Neoliberal Society. London: Verso.Google Scholar
Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1983). Anti-Oedipus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
Demaria, F., Schneider, F., Sekulova, F., & Martinez-Alier, J. (2013). What is Degrowth? From an Activist Slogan to a Social Movement. Environmental Values, 22(2), 191215Google Scholar
Dörre, K., Lessenich, S, & Rosa, H. (2015). Sociology, Capitalism, Critique. London: Verso.Google Scholar
Duverger, T. (2011). De Meadows à Mansholt: L‘invention du “zégisme.Entropia, 10:114123.Google Scholar
Escobar, A. (2015). Degrowth, Postdevelopment, and Transitions: A Preliminary Conversation. Sustainability Science, 10(3), 451462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eversberg, D., & Schmelzer, M. (2018). The Degrowth Spectrum: Convergence and Divergence within a Diverse and Conflictual Alliance. Environmental Values 27, 245267.Google Scholar
Federici, S. (2004). Caliban and the Witch. New York: Autonomedia.Google Scholar
Foucault, M. (2008). The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collége de France, 1978–79. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
Foucault, M. (1997). Sex, Power, and the Politics of Identity. In Rabinow, P. (ed.), Essential Works of Foucault: Ethics, Subjectivity, Truth, New York: The New York Press, pp.163173.Google Scholar
Foucault, M. (1980): The Politics of Health in the 18th Century. In Gordon, C. (ed.), Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings. New York: Pantheon Books, pp. 113127.Google Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, N. (1971). The Entropy Law and the Economic Process, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, N. (1995). La Décroissance. Entropie – Écologie – Économie. Paris: Éditions Sang de la terre. Original edition, 1979.Google Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, N. (2011). Quo Vadis Homo sapiens sapiens. In Bonaiuti, M. (ed.), From Bioeconomics to Degrowth. New York: Routledge, pp.158170.Google Scholar
Gibson-Graham, J.-K. (2006). A Postcapitalist Politics. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.Google Scholar
Graefe, S. (2019). Resilienz im Krisenkapitalismus. Wider das Lob der Anpassungsfähigkeit. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.Google Scholar
Habermas, J. (1984). The Theory of Communicative Action. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
Hayek, F. A. (1993). Law, Liberty, and Liberty. London/ New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Klein, N. (2007). The Shock Doctrine. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
Kothari, A, Demaria, F., & Acosta, A. (2014). Buen Vivir, Degrowth and Ecological Swaraj: Alternatives to Sustainable Development and the Green Economy. Development, 57 (3), 362375.Google Scholar
Köchy, K. (2014). Lebensbegriffe in den Handlungskontexten der Synthetischen Biologie, in Jahrbuch für Wissenschaft und Ethik, 18 (2013), 133172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Latouche, S. (2001). La déraison de la raison économique, Paris: A. Michel.Google Scholar
Latouche, S. (2009). Farewell to Growth, Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
Lazzarato, M. (2004). From Capital-Labour to Capital-Life. Ephemera, 4 (3), 187208.Google Scholar
Lessenich, S. (2008). Die Neuerfindung des Sozialen. Bielefeld: transcript.Google Scholar
Levitas, R. (2010). The Concept of Utopia. Bern: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
Martinez-Alier, J., Pascual, U., Vivien, F.-D., & Zaccai, E. (2010). Sustainable De-Growth: Mapping the Context, Criticisms and Future Prospects of an Emergent Paradigm. Ecological Economics, 69 (9), 17411747.Google Scholar
Macherey, P. (2012). Judith Butler and the Althusserian Theory of Subjection. Décalages: 1(2). Translated by Stephanie Bundy. Available at: accessed on February 18, 2018.Google Scholar
Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D., Randers, J. & Behrens, W. W. (1972). The Limits to Growth; A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind. New York: Universe Books.Google Scholar
Miegel, M. (2010). Exit: Wohlstand ohne Wachstum. Berlin: Propyläen.Google Scholar
Muraca, B. (2010). Denken im Grenzgebiet: prozessphilosophische Grundlagen einer Theorie starker Nachhaltigkeit. Freiburg/ München: Alber.Google Scholar
Muraca, B. (2013). Decroissance: A Project for a Radical Transformation of Society. Environmental Values, 22 (2), 147169.Google Scholar
Muraca, B. (2014). Eine Gesellschaft jenseits des Wachstums. Berlin: Wagenbach.Google Scholar
Muraca, B. (2017). Against the Insanity of Growth: Degrowth as a Concrete Utopia. In Heinzekehr, J., & Clayton, P (eds.) Socialism in Process: Ecology and Politics toward a Sustainable Future. Anoka: Process Century Press, pp.145168.Google Scholar
Muraca, B., & Döring, R. (2018). From (Strong) Sustainability to Degrowth. A Philosophical and Historical Reconstruction. In Caradonna, J. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of the History of Sustainability, London/ New York: Routledge, pp. 339362.Google Scholar
Muraca, B. & Schmelzer, M. (2017). Degrowth: Historicizing the Critique of Economic Growth and the Search for Alternatives in Three Regions. In Borowy, I., & Schmelzer, M. (eds.) History of the Future of Economic Growth, Abingdon: Taylor & Francis, pp. 174197.Google Scholar
Neckel, S. (2010). Refeudalisierung der Ökonomie. Zum Strukturwandel kapitalistischer Wirtschaft. Neue Zeitschrift fiür Sozialforschung 8 (1), 117128.Google Scholar
Offe, C. (1983). Competitive Party Democracy and the Keynesian Welfare State: Factors of Stability And Disorganization. Policy Sciences 15 (3), 225246.Google Scholar
Oksala, J. (2016). Feminist Experiences. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
Orozco, A. P. (2014). Subversión feminista de la economía. Aportes para un debate sobre el conflicto capital-vida, Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños.Google Scholar
Petridis, P., Muraca, B., & Kallis, G. (2015). Degrowth: Between a Scientific Concept and a Slogan for a Social Movement. In Martinez-Alier, J., & Muradian, R. (eds.) Handbook of Ecological Economics, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 176200.Google Scholar
Piketty, T. (2014). Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Cambridge: Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
Pleyers, G. (2011). Alter-Globalization: Becoming Actors in a Global Age, Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
Read, J. (2002). Primitive Accumulation: The Aleatory Foundation of Capitalism. Rethinking Marxism, 14 (2), 2449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Romano, O. (2012). How to Rebuild Democracy, Re-Thinking Degrowth. Futures 44, 582589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rosa, H., Dörre, K., & Lessenich, S. (2017). Appropriation, Activation and Acceleration: The Escalatory Logics of Capitalist Modernity and the Crises of Dynamic Stabilization. Theory, Culture & Society, 34 (1), 5357.Google Scholar
Schmelzer, M. (2015): The Growth Paradigm: History, Hegemony, and the Contested Making of Economic Growthmanship. Ecological Economics, 118, 262272Google Scholar
Schneider, F. (2008). Macroscopic Rebound Effects as Argument for Economic Degrowth. In Schneider, F., & Flipo, F. (eds.) Proceedings of the First International Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity, Paris: Research & Development, INT, 2936.Google Scholar
Tronto, J. (1993). Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Victor, P. (2008). Managing Without Growth. Slower by Design, not Disaster., Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
Walker, J., & Cooper, M. (2011). Genealogies of Resilience: From Systems Ecology to the Political Economy of Crisis Adaptation. Security Dialogue, 42 (2), 143160.Google Scholar
Welzer, H. (2011). Mental Infrastructures: How Growth Entered the World and Our Souls, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Berlin.Google Scholar
Yang, M., Howison, D. (2010): Introduction to the Special Issue “Commons, Class Struggle, and the World.” Borderlands 11(2). Retrieved from Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats