Degrowth and the Unmaking of Capitalism
Beyond ‘Decolonization of the Imaginary’?
Degrowth is incompatible with modern capitalist socioecological configurations, and in fact requires their ‘unmaking’ to open space for post-growth and post-capitalist alternatives. The concept of ‘decolonization of the imaginary’ has captured an element of unmaking in the degrowth debate; however, this concept remains underdeveloped, and thus falls short of providing an analytical basis to understand the range of interconnected, multi-level, and multidimensional processes that make space for radical alternatives to modern capitalist socioecological configurations. This paper engages with literature from across the social sciences on various forms of deconstruction, destabilization, displacement, or unmaking of the social and socio-ecological order, most of which was preciously unexplored in the degrowth debate. By building on that literature, this paper suggests a richer and more insightful approach to conceptualizing the unmaking of modern capitalist socioecological configurations, thus specifying and refining the notion of decolonization of the imaginary. The insights are distilled in five propositions: (i) unmaking is a combination of emergent, situated processes; (ii) processes of unmaking involve both symbolic and material deconstruction; (iii) unmaking is a contradictory personal experience; (iv) unmaking is often hidden, but can be used strategically; and (v) unmaking is generative.
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