Degrowth: An Emerging Idea in the EU?

Kristoffer Kjærsgaard

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This Master’s thesis seeks to explain the degrowth idea’s emergence in the European Union. Degrowth is considered a radical idea that critiques the dominant goal of continuous economic growth and strives for a decrease in production and consumption, non-consume oriented wellbeing, enhancement of local communities etc. that respects ecological limits. Alternative to this idea exist neoliberalism which in academia is identified to have manifested itself in the European Union through its policies and view of the world. Neoliberalism is argued to be an idea that also strives for decentralisation; although, with the goal of creating economic growth, increase competition, liberalising the market etc. An idea which is much different from the degrowth one. Thus, two degrowth-related events, the postgrowth conference in 2018 and the eco-social event in 2019, were identified to occur in Brussels and in the European Parliament. Through the conference and event, this research further identified actors who coordinated and participated in the degrowth-related events. The methods applied to conduct this research were documents and interviews. Through these methods, a discursive analysis was conducted. The discursive analysis was conducted through the discursive institutional framework in which ideas are considered the foundation of institutions. The findings show that multiple ideas exist in the EU including sustainability, pro-growth, growth critique, postgrowth, degrowth and neoliberalism. The ideas, however, are competing and some prevail more than others, possibly due to varieties of cognitive and normative ideas with notions of ideational power.

UddannelserInternational Public Administration and Politics, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato2 sep. 2019
Antal sider80
VejledereLaura Horn


  • Ideer
  • Diskurs
  • diskursiv institutionalisme
  • Degrowth
  • Neoliberalism
  • EU
  • Bæredygtighed