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Abstract: The crisis of unsustainability we are going through today is one of the dramatic symptoms of a collapsing paradigm of society based on consumerism, productivism, industrialism, modern technology and technocracy. All these characteristics are linked to the domination of instrumental rationality (a means-orientated mentality and perspective) in almost all areas of human life and in our relations with the non-human world. The early Frankfurt School theorists share a common account with radical Greens theorists when criticizing the negative implications of the Enlightenment, such as the dark side of scientism, industrialism and modernity that led to the ‘disenchantment of the world’ (Weber) and to the non (although expected) liberation of humanity. In this paper, I will show to what extent early critical theory, before Habermas’ shift towards liberal democracy, could provide the Degrowth movement with a relevant philosophical theory of social change, allowing the renewal of ethos and practises that constitutes one of the vital priorities today if we want to re-orientate political and economic thinking away from current unsustainability.

There is no paper for this media entry. This was a contribution to a scientific session at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014, which doesn’t exist in written format or is not published under open access.