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Degrowth as a project of decolonization

In 1972, social philosopher André Gorz coined the word ‘degrowth’, arguing that capitalist productivism, which requires capital accumulation for its own sake, is incompatible with the global environmental balance, in turn sparking a debate in France over the possibility of a degrowth economy. Recently, the idea of degrowth has been receiving increasing attention in the West, as the climate crisis has shown that capitalist exploitation of nature has reached its limit and economic growthism has been proved ecologically unsustainable. However, degrowth is still an uncharted theme in anticolonial and decolonial scholarship. This essay thus aims to explore degrowth as an anticolonial struggle in three aspects. First, I argue that degrowth is a demand for the decolonization of the Global South. Second, I examine the Eurocentric social imaginaries of growth, and how we can decolonize them through indigenous knowledge, using animist ontology as an example. The return of animism in the 21st century can thus pose a challenge to the Enlightenment project and growthist modernity. Third, I argue that degrowth is not a new idea by revisiting the anticolonial economics shared by Fanon, Nkrumah, and Sankara. I conclude this paper by critically discussing how degrowth can reach true universalism.


Day: 2023-08-31
Start time: 12:00
Duration: 00:15
Room: ZV-KC-2
Type: Paper Presentation
Theme: Feminist, decolonial, anti-racist and anti-ableist ecologies


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