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"Goodbye Green Growth"? Why problem of growth misidentifies our predicament

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East Building 1.1

University of Bath

Claverton Down

Bath

BA2 7AY

United Kingdom

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An IPR Public Lecture from Global Chair and world renowned political theorist and historian, Professor Timothy Mitchell.

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The climate emergency confronts us with the problem of growth. Can we avert a planetary catastrophe by altering the ways we consume resources, adopting a new path of “green growth”? Or is the survival of human societies incompatible with continued economic expansion, requiring the radical alternative of de-growth?

Answers on both sides assume that growth is a defining feature of capitalism. But in what sense? Growth is not the essential character of capitalist modernity, Mitchell argues, but its alibi. Rather like the concept of market exchange in the nineteenth century, growth is the abstraction that simultaneously explains our relationship to the material world and to one another, and misidentifies it.

Speaker biography:

Timothy Mitchell writes about colonialism, political economy, the politics of energy, and the making of expert knowledge. Trained in the fields of law, history, and political theory, he works across the disciplinary boundaries of history and the social sciences. His most recent book is Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil.

He is currently working on a study of durability, examining how the more durable apparatuses for capturing wealth characteristic of late nineteenth-century colonialism (railways, canals, apartment buildings, dams) engineered a new method of extracting income from the future—a future we now inhabit precariously today. Like much of his work, this research combines the study of the built world, technical devices, ecological processes, and the history of economic and political concepts. Professor Mitchell teaches at Columbia University in New York.

Professor Mitchell is a University of Bath Global Chair for the 2018 – 2019 academic year. His appointment has been funded by the International Relations Office’s Global Chair scheme, a flagship programme designed to attract distinguished, globally renowned scholars to engage in high-profile research activities at Bath.

Based in London? Attend this lecture, co-hosted with the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies, on 16 January 2020.

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Date and Time

Location

East Building 1.1

University of Bath

Claverton Down

Bath

BA2 7AY

United Kingdom

View Map

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