The Global Political Economy of the imperial mode of living

Author: Ulrich Brand1
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  • 1 University of Vienna, Austria
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Despite the high politicisation of the ecological crisis, political strategies to deal with it fail to tackle the root cause of the crisis but intend to ecologically modernise capitalism. This is an entry point for critical (Global) Political Economy. First, to understand the hegemonic character of ecologically destructive social relations, GPE should focus not only on political and economic structures, but also on their anchoring in people’s everyday lives. Second, critical scholarship should examine the global political economy of social-ecological transformations in capitalist centres which go hand in hand with a deepening of neo-colonial resource extractivism in countries of the global South, even in its ‘green’ version. The concept of an imperial mode of living aims to make sense of the hegemonic character of unsustainability rooted in everyday practices. Moreover, it connects the everyday life of people in the global North to overarching social and international structures and thus reveals the global socio-ecological preconditions of the prevailing patterns of production and consumption as well as the mechanisms that render their destructive effects invisible to those who benefit from them. Some contours of a ‘solidary mode of living’ and some preliminary conclusions for future research in critical GPE are drawn.

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  • 1 University of Vienna, Austria

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