Christos Zografos, Claudio Cattaneo, James Scott Vandeventer
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Facing the intertwined environmental, social and economic crisis requires us to seriously consider alternatives to the current capitalist system, including the emerging concept of degrowth. Existing understandings of degrowth have focused on characterizing the shape, the key elements and the proposals for a degrowth society. However, its dynamic and evolving nature as an alternative vision of the future, and the dynamics of a transition toward degrowth are inadequately considered. This paper seeks to address this conceptual gap through a reconceptualisation of degrowth as a radical niche innovation to the capitalist-growth regime. By extending the multi-level perspective framework to the capitalist-growth system, we undertake a critical reconsideration of the multi-level perspective, exposing key assumptions of this framework grounded in capitalist economic theory. Through this, we propose a Pluriversal potential pathway for change. To consider this further, a bibliometric analysis is used to measure and visualize research activity in degrowth as a proxy for the processes of development of the degrowth niche. Then, we return to the multi-level perspective to consider two potential pathways for change involving the degrowth niche and the capitalist-growth regime. Finally, we point to areas for further research that build on this new conceptualisation of a degrowth transition.