Postgrowth Imaginaries: New Ecologies and Counterhegemonic Culture in Post-2008 Spain - Part 1, Chapter 1
Luis I. Prádanos
Miami University, US
About Luis I.
Luis I. Prádanos (Iñaki) is an Associate Professor of Hispanic Contemporary Studies at Miami University. His research focuses on ecocritical theory and environmental humanities in relation to Contemporary Iberian cultures. Specifically, Iñaki’s work combines environmental cultural studies, critical theory, and postgrowth economics. Iñaki has taught several courses on topics related to environmental humanities, urban ecology, postgrowth economics and cultures, and material ecocriticism. Some of his recent articles focus on the pedagogical implications of taking seriously the ongoing global socioecological crisis: “The Pedagogy of Degrowth.” In 2017, Iñaki edited a special section on “Contemporary Iberian Ecocriticism and New Materialisms” and co-edited a special number on “South Atlantic Ecocriticism.”
This chapter introduces the main tenets of postgrowth economics and the degrowth movement, in order to familiarize the reader with these notions. The first part of the chapter provides an overview of the cultural and ecological situation in Spain in the twenty-first century, focusing on cultural scholars’ responses to the Spanish neoliberal crisis and showing how such critical interventions might be significantly enriched by paying attention to the ongoing ecocritical transnational debate. The next section studies a number of recent Iberian socioecological essays that have adopted a cross-disciplinary perspective to critique the unsustainable social and environmental degradation caused by global capitalism and its addiction to growth. The last part of the chapter makes the case for the value of advancing a degrowth-inspired ecocriticism within a Euro-Mediterranean context. Degrowth provides an alternative to mainstream Euro-American reform environmentalism. The latter is infused with a neoliberal rhetoric, rationality, and sensibility that promotes technical fixes to avoid engagement in the social and political changes needed to avert ecological collapse. While degrowthers advocate radical cultural change to achieve environmental justice, reform environmentalism only supports minor modifications to the existing order, such as sustainable development, green growth, and ecological modernization.