This article maintains that the failure of critique on – and alternatives to – economic growth to translate from academic and societal into day-to-day political discourse is only to be explained by looking closer at institutions and their discursive practices. Taking Germany and an empirical study about its parliament as an example, current political discourse on growth is shown to be predominantly governmental, ornamental, dogmatic, and – most importantly – ‘inert’ (i.e., unresponsive to individual MP’s convictions). It is made plausible that these features are linked to the suppression of growth’s character as a political option that was historically configured and chosen to mitigate distributional conflicts. Thus, redistribution forms part of the growth discourse’s ‘political unconscious.’ If this were true, a key for greater political impact of growth critique would lie in the combination with issues of inequality and redistribution, rather than only with concerns about the environment or a better quality of life.
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Rivera, M. (2018): Growth in parliament: Some notes on the persistence of a dogma. - Futures, 95, p. 1-10.DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2017.09.002
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- Narratives and Images of Sustainability