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Contributors: Arsel, Murat (International institute of Social Studies at the Hague)

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Associate Professor of Environment & Development
International Institute of Social Studies - The Hague
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Scientific paper contribution: De-growth as Counter-Hegemony? Lessons from Turkey
This paper is co-authored by Prof. Fikret Adaman, Murat Arsel, and Duygu Avci.

Abstract: That degrowth agenda has not taken an explicit stance vis-à-vis the organization of the economic relations has been a point of sharp criticism, especially regarding the viability of a degrowth trajectory. While the critiques have predominantly emphasized the material role of economic growth in the reproduction of capitalist relations of production, we argue that the notion of growth also functions as a powerful ideal that shapes state-society relationships and social-collective imagination. We demonstrate this by discussing the making of state hegemony in Turkey, where the notion of economic growth is deeply imprinted in the broader practices of the state to legitimize its existence and dominates the social imaginary in a way that cannot be easily dismissed. Thus, commitment to economic growth involves stakes much beyond economic/material ones, and extends to the whole constellation of state-society relationships and the historical, mutual shaping of these two spheres. Against this backdrop, the possibility of not only effectuating, but also imagining and desiring, degrowth calls for a radical reconfiguration of state-society relationships.