Imaginaries of Hope: The Utopianism of Degrowth

Giorgos Kallis, Hug March

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015, © 2015 by Association of American Geographers. This article analyzes degrowth, a project of radical socioecological transformation calling for decolonizing the social imaginary from capitalism's pursuit of endless growth. Degrowth is an advanced reincarnation of the radical environmentalism of the 1970s and speaks to pertinent debates within geography. This article benefits from Ursula Le Guin's fantasy world to advance the theory of degrowth and respond to criticisms that degrowth offers an unappealing imaginary, which is retrogressive, Malthusian, and politically simplistic. We argue instead that degrowth is on purpose subversive; it brings the past into the future and into the production of the present; it makes a novel case for limits without denying that scarcity is socially produced; and it embraces conflict as its constitutive element. We discuss the politics of scale of the incipient degrowth movement, which we find theoretically wanting, yet creative in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-368
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • economic growth
  • limits
  • scale
  • scarcity
  • utopias


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