Keywords: Political economy; Technological change; De-growth; Actor-network theory; Habilitation; Information and communication technologies
Abstract: This article proposes a concept of technology appropriation as a means of ideological repurposing of technology in a de-growing economy. Its economic and institutional foundations are set forth using an endogenous theory of economic development in the spirit of Marx, Schumpeter and Veblen. Technological and institutional change lead interdependently to the emergence of socio-technical complexes which are subject to ideological appropriation. These complexes are analyzed as actor-networks from an ontological perspective and exemplified using special cases in the information and communication technologies (ICTs). The approach contributes to synthesizing critical political economy with actor-network theory. Technology appropriation is elaborated as a means of repurposing existing technologies in terms of recombination, with an emphasis on the strategy of habilitation. This political economic strategy delivers new insights for a solidary mode of economic reproduction in a low-carbon de-growing economy.