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Quiet degrowth – diachronic and synchronic perspectives on the European semiperiphery

Mladen Domazet, Logan Richardson, Branko Ancic

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Description by the authors: We are focused on the European semiperiphery as the standardly presented environmentalist laggard within European environmentalism (cf. Bozonnet, 2017). Unlike societies classified as globally “peripheral”, this region is characterised by already high material standards of living. At the same time, here concern for the environment appears even lower than what is the case for much of the global periphery proper (Domazet and Ančić, 2017). This perception is closely connected to the affluence hypothesis which explains the differences in prevalence of environmentalist sentiments with differences in national affluence and access to ‘green’ products and services. The environmentalist stream of degrowth thinking stresses the current competition and future strategic trade-off between ecosystems and the industrial production and consumption systems. The democratic stream of degrowth champions debate and popular engagement over definitions of development and progress, and over struggles for justice, redistribution and technological intervention into social metabolisms. These are the motivations leading to ‘environmentally motivated democratic degrowth’, or a ‘growth-critical environmentalism’.With particular focus on the European semi-periphery, we trace a pattern of concern with environmental issues that does not correlate with affluence. Instead, this pattern, stands in an intimate relation with issues of dominant social paradigm, developmental aspirations, inequality and commitments in favour of distributive justice (e.g. Brajdić Vuković, 2014 ; Dolenec, Domazet and Ančić, 2014).

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