Headline: Contested social-ecological transformation. Shortcomings of current debates and Polanyian perspectives

In recent years, manifold ways to deal with the ecological crisis are subsumed under the header “transition/ transformation to sustainability” or even “Great” transformation. This chapter critically discusses the current debate from the perspective of a Polanyian understanding of a Great Transformation. The authors argue that the current debate suffers from a narrow analytical approach to transformation ignoring the dynamics of global capitalism and the power relations involved. Thus, a “new critical orthodoxy” of knowledge about transformation is emerging which runs the danger of contributing to ecologizing capitalism while ignoring the root causes of social-ecological crises. Based on Polanyi, but also on regulation theory, the authors distinguish between three types of transformation which focus either on an adaptation of the current institutional systems or on a new phase of green capitalism. Beside these two types, however, a post-capitalist Great Transformation requires more profound structural changes and exceeds the accumulation imperative as much as other structural constraints of capitalist development.

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Brand, U., Görg, C., & Wissen, M. (2019). Contested social-ecological transformation. Shortcomings of current debates and Polanyian perspectives. In R. Atzmüller, B. Aulenbacher, U. Brand, F. Décieux, K. Fischer, & B. Sauer (Eds.), Capitalism in Transformation. Movements and Countermovements in the 21st Century (pp. 184-197). Cheltenham, Großbritannien: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

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