Abstract: Inspired by the thesis that an alliance between degrowth and environmental justice (EJ) movements is essential (Akbulut et al., this issue), this paper presents the findings of empirical research concerning the pitfalls and possibilities of such an alliance as understood by prominent Croatian EJ movement leaders. We outline the context of the Croatian EJ movement through two specifics – the country’s semiperipheral position in the global world-system and the ecological distribution conflicts (EDCs) characteristic of the post-socialist societalmetabolism in Europe. The research explores the theory-practice nexus, materialist vs. post-materialist value base, and the potential of ‘a politico-metabolic reconfiguration’ (ibid.) for the proposed alliance. Our findings indicate a hitherto limited, but positive potential for degrowth to provide a theoretical framework for the semiperipheral EJ movement. Both the EJ movement and degrowth demonstrably share a materialist motivation, but not for reasons of ‘under-development’ of semiperipheral societies. Our analysis concludes that semiperipheral EJ activists are open to a politico-metabolic reconfiguration proposal, though they are presently not aware that a viable reconfiguration strategy is proffered by the degrowth research community. On the European semiperiphery, an alliance between theory and movement would benefit from a clearer explication of such a strategy.
Ecological Economics, Volume 157, March 2019, Pages 120-128