This thesis explores the opportunities and constraints for the adoption of a post-growth economy as a plausible approach towards sustainability by social movements. With the transdisciplinary perspective of sustainability science, the qualitative study of social movements and post-growth found that Germany does not have a post-growth movement. Nevertheless, the environmental movement and, in particular, Friends of the Earth Germany are suitable candidates of change for post-growth. However, they have not adopted post-growth yet because of certain gaps in bridging concepts of post-growth with their own work. To fill this gap, the study recommends to operationalize post-growth in five steps: (1) to distinguish between "sustainable liberalism" and "fair de-growth" as two major types of post-growth, (2) to re-frame the promises of economic growth as myths, (3) to complement "political choice" as means towards post-growth with "social choice", (4) to identify and compile areas of a post-growth economy, and (5) to overcome the inherent power dilemma between agents of change and actors of these areas, that are required to be transformed, while forming coalitions between both. If these recommendations are taken into account by academics and activists, the environmental movement is more likely to successfully activate causal mechanisms of change for the transition to a post-growth economy. With its critique on the current comprehension of progress as economic growth, postgrowth is initiating a new, more fruitful phase of the sustainability discourse.
Post-Growth on the Move
The Environmental Movement as Agent of Change for the
Transition to a Post-Growth Economy - Evidence from Germany
Impulse zur WachstumsWende no. 7 (December 2012)