The insuperable imperative: a critique of the ecologically modernizing state

Stewart Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This article challenges the current trajectory of green thinking towards the state. More specifically, it questions whether ecological modernisation (EM) is able to sufficiently “green” the capitalist state by rendering its accumulation imperative environmentally benign. The argument pursued is, first, that green statists are ambiguous when it comes to the precise nature of "strong" EM and, consequently, the green state’s relationship with the economy and environment. It is unclear whether the green state is capitalist or “post-capitalist”, or whether it will discipline or be disciplined by the market. Second, the extent to which the strong versions of EM advocated by green statists diverge from weaker strains has often been overstated, meaning various criticisms relating to weak EM’s reliance upon technological innovation remain problematic for its stronger variants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-50
Number of pages20
JournalCapitalism Nature Socialism
Issue number2
Early online date1 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • politics
  • environmental economics
  • ecological modernisation
  • Green political theory
  • environmental politics


Dive into the research topics of 'The insuperable imperative: a critique of the ecologically modernizing state'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this