Chapter 41: From ecological modernization to socially sustainable economic degrowth: lessons from ecological economics
This chapter argues for a cross-fertilization of political ecology with ecological economics. More specifically, it calls for greater efforts to link political ecology with ongoing movements outside academia, such as the global environmental justice movement and the degrowth movement in Europe. First, the authors consider the links between ecological economics and political ecology and some of the ways in which cross-fertilization has occurred. They then present a line of ecological economics research that employs a particular political ecological–economic vocabulary and analytic framework to analyse environmental conflicts and injustices, both of which are central subjects of political ecology. The focus is in particular on a ‘political’ stream of work within ecological economics concerned with intra-and intergenerational distribution and conflicting languages of valuation. Emergent work around the eco-egalitarian imaginary of ‘degrowth’ is subsequently introduced and briefly described. The authors argue that ecological economics has valuable insights to offer to political ecologists seeking to supplant the depoliticizing discourse of ecological modernization. They conclude that a deepening of exchange and collaboration between political ecology and ecological economics holds considerable transformative potential, especially since the relevance of political ecology lies in its ability to contribute to the construction of a more sustainable future.
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