The local dimension in the degrowth literature. A critical discussion

Elisabetta Mocca*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Degrowth is establishing itself as a theory within the ecological and post-development scholarship. At the core of degrowth is a local-centric perspective, whereby small urban agglomerations are considered as the key actors of the political and economic system of an imagined post-consumerist and post-capitalist society. Degrowth proponents thus argue that the fundamental steps to achieve a truly democratic, socially just and ecological society should be taken at local level. However, in the degrowth theory a thorough debate about why the local level would be the most suitable spatial units to achieve degrowth is scarce. The importance of the small urban size appears to be axiomatic, rather than supported by substantive arguments. By engaging with non-mainstream strands of green political thought, this paper critically reflects upon the local-centred perspective at the core of the degrowth theory, identifying its main practical and theoretical shortcomings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-93
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Political Ideologies
Issue number1
Early online date28 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • degrowth
  • local democracy
  • ecological thought
  • dencentralisation


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