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AroraStirling2021-IsDegrowthAlreadyColonial.pdf (1.17 MB)

[Blog] Is degrowth already colonial?

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posted on 2023-06-10, 01:13 authored by Saurabh AroraSaurabh Arora, Andrew StirlingAndrew Stirling
We are very grateful to Timothée Parrique for engaging so thoughtfully with our essay on ‘degrowth and the pluriverse: continued coloniality or intercultural revolution’? This is the kind of frank and constructive discussion that is needed to build crucial alliances and solidarities for transformations to sustainability. And it is in this mutually supportive spirit, that we would like to respond to Timothée. Both in his title and first paragraph, Timothée characterises the key critical message of our essay as requiring a reassurance that “you should not worry about degrowth turning imperial”. He then elaborates that the two of us as authors “worry that degrowth’s recent fame might create a sense of supremacy”. It is perhaps a sign of an ambiguity in our own essay, that Timothée’s reply not only reflects a serious misunderstanding, but also nicely demonstrates exactly the kind of narrative we “worry” about. We are not saying (as he implies) that the problem lies in the “growth” of the degrowth movement – that it may “turn imperial” as its “fame” expands. What we are instead arguing, is that there already exist key features of degrowth discourse (whatever scale it is enacted at), which are in danger of reproducing coloniality in at least two inter-related ways: let’s call them topological universalism and bordered reflexivity.


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