Contributors: Lessenich, Stephan, Dr. Prof. (University Jena, Germany)
Scientific paper contribution: The threat of (not) being exploited: How inequality promotes growth dispositions co-authored by Tine Haubner and Stephan Lessenich
Abstract: In discussions about the main growth drivers in our societies, two explanations often collide: a cultural account of growth dispositions and an economic account of capitalist growth imperatives. The planned contribution aims at bridging the gap between these accounts. Its central idea is that flexible global capitalism increasingly binds exploitation to the relative weakness and strength of integral social positions, forcing ever more people to translate structural constraints into cultural habitudes. On this basis, we want to map the cultural effects of diversified exploitation and virtually universalized positional competition. Specifically, we want to analyze a) which micro-mechanisms of growth depend on recent innovations of capitalism, b) how the promise and threat of exploitation (or exclusion) still can be revealed as a driving force, and c) which socio-economic risks keep people from choosing degrowth options which would be both more sustainable and more pleasant.