The Hegemony of Green Capitalism: A critique of the imaginary that the environmental crisis can be solved by capitalism

University essay from Lunds universitet/Humanekologi

Abstract: This thesis identifies the increasingly hegemonic narrative surrounding green capitalism, what the narrative entails and how the discourse may manifest materially in policies and development programs. Specifically, the thesis explores how the narrative of green capitalism and green growth is expressed in the discourse in communication in the case of P4G – Partnering for Green Growth and Global Goals 2030. While P4G presents itself as a successful initiative for partnerships promoting sustainability, critical discourse analysis revealed the agenda to be one maintaining and enabling the hegemony of capitalism, albeit as ‘green’ capitalism. Thereby, P4G promotes a certain kind of ‘sustainable development,’ which effectively means the expansion of green capitalism and a marketization of the SDGs. The critical discourse analysis is supported by theory about ideology, power and hegemony, which all are relevant to understand the workings of the discourse. Green capitalism works as a naturalised and hidden ideology. This naturalisation, as if it was a natural unspoken fact of life, serves to depoliticise green capitalism and maintain its hegemony. Situated in critical environmental sociology, the research offers a critical approach to the prevailing belief in culture and politics that capitalism can solve the problems of the environmental crisis.

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