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Environmental Values

The Paradox of Sustainable Degrowth and a Convivial Alternative

Oscar Krüger

Environmental Values 28 (2019): 233-251. doi: 10.3197/096327119X15515267418548

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Insofar as development implies economic growth, the term 'sustainable development' appears to some as a contradiction in terms. However, such conclusions still lack a thorough examination of the conceptual structure of the two terms between which there is a purported contradiction. In order to address this issue, the present paper scrutinises some of the assumptions which underwrite the ideologies of sustainability and of development. It is argued that there are key assumptions which both ideas have in common, and that sustainable development is thus perfectly coherent on a conceptual level. It is alternatives which retain either term (such as 'sustainable degrowth') that are embroiled in paradox. The paper then examines two concepts for criticising the ideology of economic growth in other terms: dépense and conviviality. It is argued that the latter is preferable to the former for the purpose of developing post-sustainable critiques of growth.


Degrowth, sustainability, dépense, conviviality

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

The Naturalisation of Growth: Marx, the Regulation Approach and Bourdieu.Max Koch

Sustainable Development: Needs, Values, Rights. Michael Redclift

Coping with the Horizontal Hitch: The 'Con-Formism' of the Degrowth Alternative. Onofrio Romano

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Focusing on Relational Matters to Overcome Duality. Claudia Carter

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