From our atmosphere to the open ocean, from our languages to the rule of law, use without ownership underpins human experience. It is critical to our continued survival beyond the Anthropocene. These resources and properties are ineluctably shared because they are not wholly appropriable; they are used as part of a commons because they cannot be entirely exchanged. They are held in common because they cannot be completely enclosed.
This paper is based on a talk I delivered at Rethinking Marxism’s 2013 international conference in conversation with Jodi Dean at a plenary session entitled “Crafting a Conversation on Communism.
This paper considers the relevance of Franciscan monastic practice to contemporary postcapitalist politics in the time of the Anthropocene. Giorgio Agamben’s reflections on the monastic revolution of the eleventh and twelfth centuries explore the different relationships between the rules governing monastic life and materiality, wherein the renunciation of property and the practice of highest poverty give the greatest expression of a collective, monastic form of life.
Over the past 20 years, the term “solidarity economy” (SE) has come to refer to economic activities that seek to promote overall quality of life within a community, as opposed to prioritizing private profit maximization in a competitive market. The organizations and enterprises comprising the solidarity economy tend to be collectively and democratically run for the benefit of their members. The activities associated with the solidarity economy do not preclude turning a profit (or generating surplus), nor do they necessarily require disengaging entirely from market exchange.
The record number of submissions we received in February 2016, apart from posing a major editorial challenge, confirmed our original intuition that a forum on the organization of alternative economies is timely. With this special issue, we would like to contribute to the current conversation on alternative economies, which is taking place in this journal (e.g. Bretos and Errasti, 2017; Cheney et al., 2014; Gibson-Graham, 1996b; Safri, 2015) and the broader organization studies community (e.g.
This commentary was invited by the special editors of this issue and is partly based on the Community Economies session that the four authors organised at the Social Movements Conference III: Resistance and Social Change in Wellington, 2016.1During the session, a number of questions were asked by participants.
In debates over post-capitalist politics, growing attention has been paid to the solidarity economy (SE), a framework that draws together diverse practices ranging from co-ops to community gardens. Despite proponents’ commitment to inclusion, racial and class divides suffuse the SE movement. Using qualitative fieldwork and an original SE dataset, this article examines the geospatial composition of the SE within the segregated geography of Philadelphia.
This paper aims to document the nature of social enterprise models in Australia, their evolution and institutional drivers. Design/methodology/approach: The paper draws on secondary analysis of source materials and the existing literature on social enterprise in Australia. Analysis was verified through consultation with key actors in the social enterprise ecosystem. Findings: With its historical roots in an enterprising non-profit sector and the presence of cooperative and mutual businesses, the practice of social enterprise in Australia is relatively mature.
This discussion paper documents gaps in professional legal support for small-scale sustainable economy initiatives (SSEIs) in Australia.
This paper is part of a series of Working Papers produced under the International Comparative Social Enterprise Models (ICSEM) Project. Launched in July 2013, the ICSEM Project (www.iap- socent.be/icsem- project) is the result of a partnership between an Interuniversity Attraction Pole on Social Enterprise (IAP-SOCENT) funded by the Belgian Science Policy and the EMES International Research Network. It gathers around 200 researchers—ICSEM Research Partners—from some 50 countries across the world to document and analyze the diversity of social enterprise models and their eco- systems.
Scholars from the social sciences and humanities are increasingly seeking to improve the relevance and social impact of their research beyond the academy. In this context, 'designerly' thinking and methods are being drawn on to inform social change agendas, and a range of new relationships and collaborations are forming around this node of activity. This article critically reflects on this trajectory through a dialogue between ethnography, design and theoretical principles from anthropology and human geography.
Childbirth has been transformed by increased use of life-saving medical technologies, greater understanding of the complex interplay between care environments, emotional states, complex biophysical processes and ongoing physical and mental health for babies and mothers. Maternity care has also been subject to broader changes in healthcare economies that reposition mothers as rational consumers in a health care marketplace.
What might an alliance between Gibson-Graham’s concept of community economy and Laclau
and Mouffe’s concept of hegemony generate for theories and practices of everyday postcapitalist
politics? This essay theorizes a shared space between these concepts, opening up new ground for
politics. It provides an illustration of the dynamic of hegemony within a community economy
through empirical work carried out with food-sovereignty collectives in the Asturias region of
northern Spain. These collectives demonstrate economic practices that foreground our
This article introduces German language readers to the work of J. K. Gibson-Graham. Thematically, it discusses the relevance of gender and class as intertwined categories in the diverse economy perspective.
This paper explores the territoriality and politics of birth. Engaging with debates that are largely polarised between discourses of natural versus medical birth, in this paper I take an in depth look at one birth story, and look for a different way to think through how women's birth experiences might be understood. Written at the beginning of a year of research into women's birth experiences this paper represents my early thinking in the study.
This essay responds to the generous commentaries on the talks Jodi Dean and I delivered during the 2013 Rethinking Marxism International Conference. It offers further reflections on communism as a political project, on its relation to postcapitalist practices, and on Dean’s desire to “return to the party,” making two distinct interventions.
This paper argues that through becoming critical minds in the Latourian sense researchers can play a key role in enacting economic food futures in the Anthropocene. It proposes a new mode of critical inquiry by centering on three broad research matters of concern: (1) gathering and assembling economic diversity (2) human actancy and (3) nonhuman actancy.
Solidarity Economy is a movement that can build power within and across scales and win supportive policy and public resources. Using the development of SE in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield, Massachusetts as examples, the article discusses the possibilities and challenges for SE projects to negotiate across differing values and politics, racial and class divides, and the challenge of accessing startup capital and building finance.
Since all communities face their own sets of unique challenges and assets, this report explores possibilities for new economic futures in the context of one particular community. By contextualizing the discussion within broader economic and political realities, it also provides insights for other communities that are undergoing economic and social transitions and striving to do so in a sustainable and humane way.
In a recent essay Michael Hardt gives voice to a widespread discontent with the left-academic project of critique, stemming from its failure to deliver on its emancipatory promises. Scholarship, in geography and many other social science disciplines is dominated by a pre-occupation with charting the intricate connections between neoliberal governance and an expansive capitalism. As Hardt and many others have observed, the process of critical exposure fails to incite a political response from broader publics.
In this introduction to a special section on non-capitalist political ecologies in the Journal of Political Ecology, we discuss how engaged researchers can significantly contribute to a meaningful "ecological revolution" by (1) examining the tremendously diverse, already-existing experiments with other ways of being in the world, (2) helping to develop alternative visions, analyses, narratives, that can move people to desire and adopt those ways of being, and (3) actively supporting and constructing economies and ecologies with alternative ethical orientations.
Much has been written about families and their influence on relationships and research in fieldwork, yet seldom has the absence of family in the field received analytical attention.
In this paper authors Cameron, Gibson and Hill discuss two research projects in Australia and the Philippines in which we have cultivated hybrid collectives of academic researchers, lay researchers and various nonhuman others with the intention of enacting community food economies. We feature three critical interactions in the 'hybrid collective research method': gathering, reassembling and translating.
In water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) literature and interventions, it is common to class households with anything other than private toilets as without sanitation. This implies that the people who use forms of hygiene and sanitation relying on collective toilets and alternative strategies are somehow unhygienic. Yet residents of Xining (Qinghai Province, China) rely on hygiene assemblages that do not always include private toilets, but nonetheless still work to guard health for families with young children.
This paper draws on interviews with economic development professionals in Maine (USA) to pursue two tasks: first, to explore the potentials and limits of Calsikan and Callon's notion of "economization" as the tracing of how "the economic" is produced as a material-semiotic construction; and second, to propose an approach that refuses the assumption that the composition of collective provisioning will (or should) take the ultimate form of an "economy." Development processes and struggles can also be read in terms of the "composition of livelihoods," beckoning toward a transversal politics th
Simon Springer’s essay on ‘Why a radical geography must be anarchist’ offers both a useful overview of anarchism’s continued relevance to geography today and a lively provocation to relocate the political center of radical geography. In this response I think along with Springer about strategies for everyday revolution and point to many contributions that already dislodged 'traditional Marxian analysis" from the moral, methodological and political high ground within radical geography.
This paper was written as part of a suite of papers presented at a Wenner-Gren Foundation Workshop on ‘Crisis, Value and Hope: Rethinking the Economy.’ It brings diverse economy thinking and the practice of weak theorizing to bear on the anthropological interest in producing thick description.
Literature review of Urban Political Ecology. Focuses on the need for more work on environmental imaginary, governance, and the non-human.
This paper explores and compares the activities of two green economy coalitions. I investigate how social actors, including myself, have been negotiating, responding to, and producing the meaning of the green economy, and the meaning of "the economy" writ-large, through our political efforts. I am particularly interested in thinking about the ways in which the expression of different desires for economy can lead to openings, or closures, for the construction of non-capitalist relationships, initiatives, and enterprises.
Artists and artisans have a crucial role in the sustainability of the creative economy. By utilizing a participatory action research approach seeded by the work of J. K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron, and Julie Graham's study of community economies in the Pioneer Valley, The Rethinking the Creative Economy Project demonstrates how a collaborative research methodology can reappropriate development from the exploitation of artists and artisans as a panacea for economically challenged communities and as a tool that can help perform a postcapitalist environment.
The article discusses the theoretical openings accorded by the recognition of economic difference and contingency within the Marxist tradition, exploring their potential contributions towards imagining and enacting a postcapitalist politics of economic transformation and experimentation.
This article engages with the notion of the city as capitalist space, focusing on the specific actors that come together to realign economically heterogeneous spaces into the monolithic, capitalist city.
In this short commentary, I engage with other economic geographers reflecting on whether there is an 'Antipodean' Economic Geography. I argue that this is less a matter of fact and more of a point of gathering: by naming and gathering something called an Antipodean Economic Geography, what possibilities do we enable and disable for new kinds of economies and geographies?
This essay explores the discursive production of numerous, well-meaning efforts to respond to social and economic restructuring in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Drawing upon the work of Slavoj Zizek, we suggest that the focus on what is perceived to be reasonable, or realistic, is maintained by and helps to maintain, the normal workings of capitalist exploitation which appear as inevitable, natural, or altogether invisible.
Written as a response to a series of commentaries on 'Antipodean Economic Geography’ this piece draws on my fieldwork experience to question whether it is useful to invoke the ‘otherness’ of the Antipodes. I call for a habituation of the practice of looking for difference as a way of cutting across the Antipodean-Metropole binary invoked in the discussion.
This introduction shows how J. K. Gibson-Graham's work continues to inspire current scholarship in the Marxian tradition. It provides an overview of articles published in Rethinking Marxism as Part I of a two-part symposium.
This short essay considers the limitations of critical anthropological theory and in particular critiques of capitalism. We suggest that anthropology's emancipatory potential can be found in an approach that embraces anthropology's moral optimism and merges critique with a politics of possibility.
Phil Ireland and I collaborated on this paper during his PhD studies while I was at Macquarie University. We sought to bring together his work on Climate Change Adaptation with my thinking on post-development. We argue that when it comes to efforts to support Climate Change Adaptation in the majority world, it is important to challenge technocratic approaches that dismiss the value of local innovations. Instead we draw inspiration from the work of J.K. Gibson-Graham and their injunction to refuse to know too much.
Much of J.K. Gibson-Graham’s work has been aimed at opening up ideas about what action is, both by broadening what is considered action (under the influence of feminist political imaginaries and strategies), and by refusing the old separation between theory and action. But the coming of the Anthropocene forced Julie and I to think more openly about what is the collective that acts.
This paper explores and elaborates on J.K. Gibson-Graham's concept of "community economy," refracting it into three interrelated dimensions of ontology, ethics and politics, and placing them in conversation with one another via comparative explorations of both community economy and solidarity economy as contemporary articulations for radically-democratic economic organizing.
Article for the Planning Institute of Australia (NSW) journal
This paper challenges the ways in which the First World/Third World binary, coupled with a "capitalocentric" discourse of economic development, limit possibilities for economies of community, cooperation and participation. Fisheries are used as an example to argue that undermining the presence of capitalism in the First World and making space for that which has been excluded (for example, community-based and territorial fisheries) requires a new economic and spatial imaginary.
In a context of climate change, this paper uses J.K. Gibson-Graham's concept of a community economy to develop new economic possibilities outside of the growth model. We argue that cooperatives offer a significant transformative opportunity to resocialise and repoliticise economies away from the economic growth imperative.
The discourse of fisheries science and management displaces community and culture from the essential economic dynamic of fisheries. The goal of this dominant discourse is to enclose fisheries, to constitute it as within the singular and hegemonic economy of capitalism. Alternative economies, such as those based on the presence of community, are always seen as either existing before or beyond the dominant economic formation.
By drawing from the experience of a community education project, this article demonstrates how community members can understand ourselves to be part of the relational dynamics through which collective change can take place.
In this article, the dynamics through which social processes are being increasingly individualized are called into question, and alternative constructions are offered. When subjectivity and ethics are reconceptualized, new paths for ethical engagement and non-unitary subjects begin to emerge.
This paper explores the production of space and time at a worker co-operative copy shop in Western Massachusetts.
This article examines the economy of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and traces its connections to both historic and contemporary factory and farm occupations.
"The commons" is often represented in terms that place capitalism at the center of the story, thus making "a commons future" difficult to imagine. This paper examines this problematic through research on the common property management regime of New England fisheries, seeking to offer alternative representations of commons that might open up economic possibility.
Using story and analysis, this paper explores the role of my (maternal) body in producing ethnographic knowledge, re-envisioning ethnographic fieldwork as an embodied relational engagement with a 'site' or 'space' where a multiplicity of trajectories converge.
This article discusses the role of visual representation in the production of urban economic subjects. It focuses on Philadelphia in the 19th Century and includes a discussion of the continuation of subsistence practices into the 20th Century.
At the core of J.K. Gibson-Graham's feminist political imaginary is the vision of a decentralized movement that connects globally dispersed subjects and places through webs of signification. We view these subjects and places both as sites of becoming and as opportunities for belonging. But no longer can we see subjects as simply human and places as human-centered. Th arrival of the Anthropocene has thrown us onto new terrain.
By pragmatically drawing connections across theoretical differences, it is hoped that researchers will engage critically with their own theoretical commitments and assumptions, thus opening themselves up to new possibilities and to new creative ways of coming together.
This paper reveals how ethical economic decision making in a government-led local food project in the Philippines is generating social surplus, creating and sustaining commons and building a community-based food economy.
Amidst widespread concern about the economy, this paper explores how academic researchers can contribute to the work underway to create environmentally orientated and socially just economies. We offer the diverse economies framework as a technique with which to cultivate ethical economies.
With the example of a practice scenario, readers can see the practical possibilities that open up with the shift in perspective invited by situational analysis.
This paper highlights social enterprise development as a post-disaster livelihood re-building strategy that has the potential to build resilience and foster disaster preparedness in local communities.
The goal of this article is to introduce a new category into international political economy-the global household-and to begin to widen the focus of international political economy to include nonmarket transactions and noncapitalist production. We estimate the aggregate population of global households, the size and distribution of remittances, and the magnitude and sectoral scope of global household production. We briefly explore the possibilities for research and activism opened up by a feminist, postcapitalist international political economy centered on the global household.
This paper explores the performative effects of law legal incoporation in the context of worker cooperatives internally governed through consensus, concluding that this representational disjuncture has particular effects on cooperative subjectivity.
This article reviews the growing body of literature produced by geographers who make use of psychoanalytic theory in the course of their research, before considering how Left Lacanian theory was deployed in diverse economies research.
This paper takes issue with economic discourses that present excessive greed as the central cause of economic crises. We argue that this focus on greed as the catalyst (when harnessed or the enemy of social order keeps the public debate from deliberating on the particular modes of enjoyment, which both shore up and destabilize the dynamics of production, appropriation, distribution and consumption under capitalism.
This paper explores the different and diverse economic practices that two Community Supported Agriculture initiatives use to enact their ethical commitments. The paper considers what this means for current government support for social and community enterprises.
This article examines the force of affect in collective action transforming the economy. I draw on my experience at the 2005 World Social Forum to illustrate the operation of affect in collective action.
Faced with the daunting prospect of global warming and the apparent stalemate in the formal political sphere, this paper explores how human beings are transformed by, and transformative of, the world in which we find ourselves.
This paper draws on ecological ideas to rethink the dynamics of rural economic transformation in the Philippines.
In this article we draw on community economies and ecological humanities scholarship to tackle perhaps the most pressing question of our time. How do we live together with human and non-human others?
This article draws on the work of Bruno Latour and Eve Sedgwick to examine the ways in which two documentary films are broadening the horizons of economy.
Competing with the cartography of capitalism, undermining its power to fix resources as open to capitalist appropriation and space as enclosed, will require a cartography of the commons that makes visible community and commons processes; it will require a shift in strategy from explicating and defending existing commons to mapping spaces into which a commons future might be projected. The Buffalo Commons and a map-based project in New England fisheries link new spatial imaginaries with desires for and enactments of alternative economic initiatives.
Reflecting on the process of field research this paper explores the challenges of bringing together empirical research and the experience of doing development work, with the complex and often speculative theorising of contemporary political and social philosophy.
In this paper we describe the work of a nascent research community of economic geographers who are making the choice to bring marginalized, hidden and alternative economic activities to light in order to make them more real and more credible as objects of policy and activism. The diverse economies research program is, we argue, a performative ontological project that builds upon and draws forth a different kind of academic practice and subjectivity.
Diverse economic possibilities in Kiribati.
Informal caregiving frequently exacts a heavy psychic and physical toll on subjects that perform it while simultaneously figuring as a source of deep ethical meaning, raising questions about how to account for both dimensions in a politics of health care reform.
Fishing economies are typically represented as pre-capitalist and as a barrier to capital accumulation rather than as an alternative economy with its own potentials. Privatization (and capitalism) appears logical and inevitable because there is no alternative described or given. The class analysis presented here focuses on questions of property and subjectivity and describes fishing as a non-capitalist and community-based economy consonant with both a tradition of common property and an image of fishermen as independent and interested in fairness and equity.
In response to the accusation that development can only serve to perpetuate uneven power between the '1st' and '3rd' worlds, this paper explores possibilities for new postdevelopment approaches founded on an understanding of development as a political engagement.
Discussion of the history and concept of 'solidarity economy" and possible implementations in the U.S. context.
This paper co-written with Ken Byrne uses the psychoanalytic concept of fantasy to explore how people are attached to particular notions of economy. We explore how worker cooperators in Argentina's newly formed worker cooperatives experience their economic subjectivity.
The emergence of a participatory orthodoxy in the development industry has had enormous positive impact, however discourses of participation are also being used in surprisingly political ways. This paper explores how a “pro-local” discourse amongst development professionals in northern Thailand is being deployed in ways that undermine the goals of empowerment and emancipation that are central to the aims of participatory approaches.
This paper introduces a poststructuralist influenced participatory action research project seeking to develop new pathways for economic and community development in the context of a declining region.
The first paper published during my PhD studies, this article explores how the movement to obtain citizenship rights for highland minorities in Thailand is carefully engaging with dominant discourses of Thai-ness in ways that open up the incompleteness of Thai state hegemony.
Based on the Latrobe Valley Community Partnering Project, this paper introduces new ways of understanding disadvantaged areas, the economy, community and the research process in order to open up new ways of addressing social and economic issues.
In this paper interpreting mushroom hunting as part of the diverse economy facilitates its place independent of environmental protection strategies like green capitalism, which fail in part because they ignore non-capitalist resource use and extraction activities that do not fit within market oriented approaches to resource management.
This paper offers a synopsis of the key findings of my PhD Thesis which explored the politics of development practice and theories of postdevelopment. Drawing on a series of case studies from northern Thailand, I argue that development is always political, whether it is being shaped by a politics of emancipation or the international geopolitical concerns of the day. Thus what is required in development practice is a much more aware engagement with the political dynamics at play.
This article examines survival strategies of urban households in post-socialist cities during the transition from the Soviet system to a market economy. The article links the outcomes of systemic transformation to the daily lives of households and connects urban change induced by mass privatization to class and gender processes inside the households. These other transitions in everyday class and gender processes are consistently overlooked by macroeconomic approaches that dominate among transition theorists and policy consultants.
This article discusses the use of GIS for an alternative analysis of the transition to capitalism in Moscow, Russia in the 1990s. Following the argument for incorporating quantitative methods into feminist research agendas, the article illustrates how GIS can be part of a critical and feminist analysis of economic transition.
Principles and practices for cultivating a local ethics of economic transformation.
Situates contemporary evaluations of the success of Spain's Mondragon cooperative complex within a tradition of debate about the politics of economic transformation and argues for the development of an economics of surplus that can guide ethical decisions in community economies.
Exploring how recent feminist thinkers are attempting to add women into the economy.
How women's activism in the Philippines, China and Papua New Guinea is helping build and strengthen community economies.
Outlines the Rethinking Economy action research project in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, highlighting the role of academy-community partnerships in constructing community economies.
Outlines the 'politics of becoming' associated with desiring and building communal economies.
A review of Australian research and policy interventions aimed at communities and regions from the perspective of the Community Economies Project.
This article draws on field research in New England to challenge conventional individualized accounts of fishery dynamics and develop a representation of fisheries as diverse sites of community organization and cooperative management of common property. This is a "re-mapping," both literal and figurative, of the landscapes of fishery practice as a strategy to open more possibilities for communal resource management.