Community Economies

Conference Papers

Groundswell Post Conference Summary Report

On January 29th, 2014, a community conference called Groundswell brought community members together in order to “inspire creativity, ideas, and relationships that advance the wellbeing of our community.”  This report illuminates both the process of facilitating meaningful community engagement as well the outcomes of doing so. The report was written for the community in which the event took place, but the hope is that it also inspire similar efforts in other communities that are ready for a ‘groundswell’ of their own.

Ecological Livelihoods: Rethinking “Development” Beyond Economy, Society, and Environment

Ethan Miller

The three familiar categories of "economy," "society," and "environment"--staples in discourses of sustainable development--constitute a hegemonic formation that widely and problematically shapes the landscape of imagination and contestation, rendering particular, historically-produced relations seemingly inevitable and closing down possibilities for more generative and ethical modes of relationship. At the same time, however, economy, society, and environment are categories in crisis, and the world they aspire to organize and discipline is already escaping their clutches. A key task of our era is to identify, amplify, and connect multiple “lines of flight” (Deleuze and Guattari 1987) beyond these categories. This paper proposes a concept of "ecological livelihoods" as one experimental step in this direction.

Enabling social innovation – opportunities for sustainable local and regional development

Joanne McNeill

Paper on doctoral research in progress.

McNeill, J. 2013. Enabling social innovation - opportunities for sustainable local and regional development. Paper presented at inaugural Social Frontiers: The Next Edge of Social Innovation Research conference, Glasgow Caledonian University, London, 14-15 Nov 2013.

Surplus of Surplus: From Accounting Convention to Ethical Coordinates

Ethan Miller

This paper explores what we might call "diverse economies of surplus," attempting to further develop Gibson-Graham's notion of surplus as an "ethical coordinate" and examining a number of key ethical and political questions raised when surplus is pushed beyond its conventional Marxian formulation.

Miller, Ethan. 2013. "Surplus of Surplus: From Accounting Convention to Ethical Coordinates." Paper presented at the Rethinking Marxism Gala, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 21 September 2013.

Diverse Economies and Dwelling

Oona Morrow


In this paper I explore how notions of dwelling might be adapted to explain how diverse economic practices produce new economic spaces and subjectivities within and beyond the home.

Morrow, Oona. 2011. Diverse Economies and Dwelling. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, 2011

How do public policy and programs enable social innovation activities that contribute to more sustainable forms of local and regional development?

Joanne McNeill

Paper on doctoral research in process.

McNeill, J. 2013. How do public policy and programs enable social innovation activities that contribute to more sustainable forms of local and regional development? Paper presented at 4th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise, University of Liege, Belgium, 2-4 July 2013.

Socially Creative Thinking or how experimental thinking creates ‘other worlds’

JK Gibson-Graham

The KATARSIS research project responds to one of the most pressing questions of our times—how to live together? In EU countries this concern has focused on creating conditions for social cohesion, especially by researching the ways that processes of exclusion and inclusion operate. On the global stage the question of how to live together has gained increasing weight in recent times in the light of climate change, public health challenges and economic crisis. Hard-hitting questions about basic needs, consumption levels, capitalist surplus, and the environmental commons that have been suppressed in the language of ‘cohesion’ and ‘inclusion’ are beginning to surface.

Gibson-Graham, J.K. (2009) Socially Creative Thinking: or how experimental thinking creates ‘other worlds’.

Also presented at the Katarsis conference, 2008

In pursuit of social impact – towards a ‘joint-stewardship’ approach to financier relationships in social entrepreneurship and social enterprise

Joanne McNeill

McNeill, J. 2011. In pursuit of social impact - Towards a 'joint stewardship' approach to financier relationships in social entrepreneurship and social enterprise. Paper presented at 3rd International Social Innovation Research Conference, London Southbank University, 12-13 September 2011

Lessons from the Hummingbird

Jenny Cameron

In Dirt!: The Film, Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan Nobel Peace Laureate and founder of the Green Belt Movement in Africa, tells the story of the tiny hummingbird who fights a huge bush fire drop by tiny drop of precious water. What can the little hummingbird tell us about ways of building a sustainable food future? This paper explores this question.

Cameron, J. 2010. Take back the (food) economy: lessons from the hummingbird. Keynote Presentation, Fair Share Festival, Newcastle, October 22-23.

Diverse Food Economies

Jenny Cameron

This paper uses the Diverse Economies Framework to explore initiatives that have been developed to build more sustainable and ethical food futures, and to identify policy and reseach activities that might help strengthen these initiatives.

Cameron, J. and R. Gordon 2010. Building sustainable and ethical food futures through economic diversity: options for a mid-sized city'. Paper presented at the Policy Workshop on The Future of Australia's Mid-Sized Cities, Latrobe University, Bendigo, Australia, Sept 29-30.

Poor Mothers are not poor mothers: Cross-cultural learning between northwest China and Australasia

Kelly Dombroski

This paper takes a look at the practice of ba niao or 'Elimination Communication', where even very small babies are held out to 'eliminate' their waste rather than using nappies! The cross-cultural awkward engagement between two different hygiene understandings sparks changes in the day-to-day domestic practices of a group of Australasian mothers who rethink their use of hygiene products and other 'stuff'.

Dombroski, K. (2010) Poor mothers are not poor mothers: Cross-cultural learning between northwest China and Australasia. Unpublished conference paper presented atA New Generation of Cross-cultural Researchers: Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney September 2010.

Growing the Community of Community Gardens: Research Contributions

Jenny Cameron

This paper discusses a performative research project conducted with community gardeners in Newcastle Australia.

Cameron, J., C. Manhood and J. Pomfrett. 2010. Growing the community of community gardens: research contributions. Paper submitted to the Community Garden Conference, Canberra, October 2010. (Note: The final published version is available online at the Conference Website, pages 116-129).

ABCD meets DEF: Using asset based community development to build economic diversity 2008

Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson

This paper reframes existing economic diversity as a community asset that can be built on for community and economic development. ĘIncludes strategies for doing this, and draws on examples from the Philippines and Australia

The contribution of community enterprises to the development of regions 2008

Jenny Cameron

This paper discusses the sorts of ethical economic decisions made by community enterprises, and how this contributes to regional social, environmental and economic well-being.

Teaching a politics of hope and possibility 2007

Jenny Cameron

Introduces three strategies for rethinking the economy with students.

Representing marginalisation: finding new avenues for economic and social intervention 2005

Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson

Discusses the limiting ways in which people in marginalised areas are portrayed in policy and research, and introduces a different way of representing marginalised groups and the more enabling economic and social policies that result.

Collaborating with communities: an assets-based approach to community and economic development 2003

Jenny Cameron

This paper outlines a collaborative approach to working with local residents in marginalised communities to develop community and economic development projects. The paper draws from action research conducted in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, and Eagleby and Logan City, Queensland

Asset-based community and economic development: implications for the social capital debate 2000

Jenny Cameron

Explores some of the limits of measuring and monitoring social capital.

Community economies: economic politics outside the binary frame 1999

Katherine Gibson

Script of a presentation about the contradictory politics of "community" and how this website might help to redefine mainstream understandings of both community and economy.

Stories of success from rural and regional Australia: a video conference 1998

A video conference and workshop that brought together community, academic and industry speakers to showcase how community-based or community-oriented enterprises in four regions of eastern Australia are strengthening regional economies in new ways.