Paradigms and the Political Economy of Ecopolitical Projects: Green Growth and Degrowth Compared

Hubert Buch-Hansen*, Martin B. Carstensen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Competing ecopolitical projects seek to deliver answers to one of the most central questions of our time: how can the escalating climate crisis be halted? The paper asks how we may meaningfully compare ecopolitical projects that originate in fundamentally different conceptions of the type of change necessary to reach a sustainable organization of society? Using Peter Hall's paradigm approach as a starting point, the paper employs extant political economy scholarship to develop a framework that sets out four key dimensions that work as points of comparison between ecopolitical projects. The framework is applied in a comparison of the competing ecopolitical projects of green growth and degrowth to elucidate the ways in which these projects differ profoundly in terms of the extensiveness of change they envision, the actors they consider pivotal for sustainability transitions, their scientific basis and their distributional consequences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCompetition and Change
Issue number3/4
Pages (from-to)308-327
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: January 19, 2021


  • Capitalism
  • Climate crisis
  • Policy paradigms
  • Degrowth
  • Green growth

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