Postgrowth Imaginaries

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Postgrowth Imaginaries
brings together environmental cultural studies and postgrowth economics to examine counterhegemonic narratives and radical cultural shifts sparked by the global financial crisis of 2008. A number of critical voices worldwide have emphasized that in the context of a finite biosphere, constant economic growth is a biophysical impossibility. The problem is not a lack of growth but rather the globalization of an economic system addicted to constant growth, which destroys the ecological planetary systems that support life on Earth while failing to fulfil its social promises. Post-2008 Spain offers an optimal context to investigate these cultural processes, and this book demonstrates that a transition toward what Prádanos calls ‘postgrowth imaginaries’—the counterhegemonic cultural sensibilities that are challenging the growth paradigm in manifold ways—is well underway in the Iberian Peninsula today. Specifically, this book explores how emerging cultural sensibilities in Spain—reflected in fiction and nonfiction writing and film, television programs, photographs and graphic novels, op-eds, web pages, political manifestos, and socioecological movements—are actively detaching themselves from the dominant imaginary of economic growth. By approaching the counterhegemonic cultures of the crisis through environmental criticism, Postgrowth Imaginaries uncovers a whole range of cultural nuances often ignored by Iberian cultural studies.

'[This work] constitutes an urgent, enlightening, and empowering reflection about a crucial subject of our time. Its main focus and virtue is to provide with sound intellectual tools to think about the fundamental danger that the growth paradigm (and particularly its capitalist version) means for humanity and planet Earth. It also opens the discussion about the possibility of a “post-growth” world. [...] The book takes a special interest in studying the academic and disciplinary implications of this debate: what does it mean for humanities, cultural studies, urban studies, and, particularly for Iberian studies to take seriously the ecological crisis and the threat that the growth paradigm means? The claim is not for just a change of subjects of study in these disciplines, but moreover for a change in the way we think.'
Luis Moreno-Caballud, University of Pennsylvania

'Prádanos's book will become a necessary reference for all those who will subsequently write about post-growth, environmental studies in the Spanish/Iberian context and related subjects.'
Katarzyna Olga Beilin, University of Wisconsin

'The book is sure to engage Iberian and other cultural scholars. [...] throughout the book Prádanos analyses an impressively wide array of cultural productions—from the habitual novels, films, and documentaries to graphic novels and cartoons, songs, and an “audiovisual experiment,” a website, a street mural in Madrid, and even an art installation made entirely of garbage—all of which call attention to the excesses and failures of the neoliberal growth fantasy.'
Mònica Tomàs, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment


'Postgrowth Imaginaries is a book particularly useful for Iberian scholars interested in incorporating environmental humanities in their research. It is also a book which topics have not been sufficiently explored in Spain and, therefore, it contributes to encourage new research avenues and to establish a theoretical base combining national and international perspectives.'
Rivero Vadillo, Ecozone

‘Despite the Earth’s dire situation, the book’s tone is hopeful in its proposal to foster and study new epistemologies that envision an ecojust postgrowth period.'
Shanna Lino, STTCL: Studies in Twentieth & Twenty-First Century Literature

Postgrowth Imaginaries is essential reading for students and scholars of contemporary Spain as well as those who want to think through broader questions related to how we can imagine a more socially and ecologically just future.’
Micah McKay, Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos

‘With cogent theoretical explanations, lucid prose, autonomous chapters and an abundance of cultural texts, Postgrowth Imaginaries will translate well to the classroom and will be easily accessible for anyone interested in learning about the global generators of climate change, eco-cultural responses from Spain and possible alternatives.'
Megan Saltzman, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies

Author Information

Luis I. Prádanos (Iñaki) is Associate Professor of Contemporary Spanish Culture at Miami University.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Environmental Humanities in the Anthropocene15
The Dominant Imaginary of Economic Growth and Its Social and Ecological Crises21
Environmental Cultural Studies: Challenging Neoliberal Fantasies to Overcome the Crisis of Political Imagination31
Part I: Spanish Culture and Postgrowth Economics45
Chapter 1. Towards an Ecocritical Approach to the Spanish Neoliberal Crisis47
1.1 Cultural Responses to the Spanish Neoliberal Crisis and the Global Ecocritical Turn47
1.1.1. Social and Ecological Context50
1.1.2. Culture of Transition and Culture of Crisis: Historical Iterations of the Growth Imaginary in Spain57
1.1.3. Post-Development: Towards a Decolonial Spanish Cultural Approach59
1.2. Spanish Ecocriticism and Ecological Economics: A Great Duet65
1.2.1. Ecological Economics69
1.2.2. The Proliferation of Iberian Socioecological Essasys71
1.3 Challenging Acceleration and Techno-Optimism: The Case for a Euro-Mediterranean Degrowth-Inspired Ecocriticism86
1.3.1. Degrowth and Slow Movement87
1.3.2. Questioning Acceleration and Techno-Optimism91
Part II: Urban Ecologies99
Chapter 2. Urban Ecocriticism and Spanish Cultural Studies101
2.1. Spanish Urban Ecocriticism101
2.1.1. Metabolic Rift and Urban Metabolism106
2.1.2. Towards Postgrowth Urban Imaginaries110
2.2 Interpretative Typology112
2.2.1. The Crisis of the Urban Growth Machine: Challenging Petromodernity112
2.2.2. Urban Collapse and Post-Petroleum Futures126
2.2.3. Non-Urban Spaces and Neo-Ruralization: Escaping the Urban Growth Machine?136
2.2.4. Postgrowth Urban Imaginaries: Imagining and Performing the Ecopolist155
Part III: Waste, Disaster, Refugees, and Nonhuman Agency173
Chapter 3. Nonhuman Agency and the Political Ecology of Waste175
3.1. Politics and Aesthetics of Garbage in Post-2008 Spanish Culture191
3.2. Soft Pollution, Social Metabolism, and Surplus Population204
Chapter 4. Disaster Fiction, the Pedagogy of Catastrophe, and the Dominant Imaginary219
4.1. El barco223
4.2. The impossible229
Conclusion: The Global Rise of Postgrowth Imaginaries241
Selected Bibliography249