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Individual Paper: Post-growth law

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The law as it stands today is growth-oriented. I argue that the growth paradigm is a central “doctrinal logic”, which infuses the law and has its own legal effects “as law”. If ecological transition requires a form of degrowth (as I argue in my thesis), what are the implications for law? What would degrowing the law look like?

Taking critical legal theory as my starting point (and Green legal theory more specifically), I suggest that post-growth law must embody a revised version of the subject, of relations and of voice/power. In this paper, I will concentrate on the first two. I argue that the “who” of law must go beyond the human, recognising not just the “abject bodies“ Judith Butler speaks of, but “abject subjectivities”. Relations among the human and post-human, are afflicted by deepening “social acceleration” (Hartmut Rosa) and are increasingly framed in monetary terms. Reappropriating McLuhan’s idea that the “medium is the message“, I suggest that the monetary framing of relationships determines both their scale and content. Concurrently, “social acceleration“ reduces the leverage we have to change how we relate to each other.

In discussing this subject, my hope is to provide a theoretical framework which might help to respond to some of the criticisms (or questions) levelled at the degrowth movement, in particular: what does degrowth have to say about inequality (i.e. how are the social and the ecological problems with growth interconnected)? what are degrowthers to do about the existing top-down political architecture (i.e. how can the disparate bottom-up actions already taking place locally scale up)? how can degrowth avoid major social strife in the transition beyond capitalism?


Day: 2018-08-22
Start time: 11:15
Duration: 00:15
Room: Nöjesteatern (Piano bar)
Track: Critical Social Theories



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