Moving beyond growth in the Anthropocene

SAGE Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
The Anthropocene Review, 2018, 5 (3), pp. 242 - 249
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From a sociological and political perspective, a key contribution of the discourse on the Anthropocene is its ability to act as a boundary object, to bring natural scientists and social scientists into conversation with each other and with the wider public. The Anthropocene then shifts scientific debate from the technical to the political, thus forcing science to change its mode of inquiry from normal to post-normal science, where political stakes as well as uncertainty of decision outcomes are high, and pressuring science to become a political actor. The current understanding of the Anthropocene, both stratigraphically and metaphorically, is based on the detrimental ecological impact of humanity and this leads us to propose that the Anthropocene commences with a new age we have called the ‘Auxocene’, after the ancient Greek Horae of growth. We argue that the social imaginary constituting the Auxocene rests on an unchallenged basic driver: expansionist differentiation and unchecked growth. We explore the notion of ‘Degrowth’ as a powerful discursive tool to facilitate the emergence of new social imaginaries and creating new socio-economic models that will provide beneficial ecological consequences for living in the Anthropocene
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