Ingolfur Blühdorn

is Associate Professor in Politics / Political Sociology at the Department of European Studies at the University of Bath, UK. His recent publications include In Search of Legitimacy. Policy making in Europe and the Challenge of Complexity (ed.), Opladen / New York 2009; The Politics of Unsustainability. Eco-politics in the Post-Ecologist Era (ed. with Ian Welsh), London / New York 2008; Economic Efficiency – Democratic Empowerment. Contested Modernization in Britain and Germany (ed. with Uwe Jun), Lanham, MD, 2007.


The sustainability of democracy

On limits to growth, the post-democratic turn and reactionary democrats

Emancipation, the central demand of democracy, has come to mean liberation from restrictive social and ecological imperatives. Before proposing radical participatory solutions we need to ask how democracy itself serves the politics of unsustainability, argues Ingolfur Blühdorn.

Dominant discourses of sustainability, argues Ingolfur Blühdorn, remain firmly within the growth paradigm, their hegemony being a reflection of the exhaustion of the critique of industrial society and consumer capitalism. For any genuine turn towards sustainability, the limits of rights and freedoms widely held to be sacrosanct must be re-politicized, and their content and limitations redefined.