In this essay I reflect on and theorize efforts to teach, learn, and advance solidarity economy, a movement and design project to create the conditions for community determination and collective well-being. I draw from five years of ethnographic work and two years of teaching efforts to reassemble the resources at hand into a pedagogical intervention along the lines of what Jon Law (2004) describes as a “methods assemblage,” a set of practices, techniques, and relations that work to organize and condense particular realities. I explore how a methods assemblage of solidarity economy can open epistemological, ideological, and material trajectories toward other ways of being in the world.
In this article, Katharine and Kelly reflect on the role of the body in ethnographic research, suggesting some questions we might consider as we seek to create caring academic communities supporting each other in ethnographic work.
In Transcending Capitalism Through Cooperative Practices, Mulder shows how exploitation, and non-exploitation, can be analytically discerned, and she describes some various contexts in which non-exploitation exists. Mulder's analysis, analytical approach, and contextual descriptions, surface and prompt important questions around the conditions of possibility for imagining and actualizing economic difference and transformation. To help elaborate and begin to address these questions, I turn to a growing movement in Massachusetts in which communities are crafting and organizing around their own conditions of possibility in innovative and powerful ways.
It appears that an almost unquestioned development pathway for achieving gender equity and women’s empowerment has taken centre stage in mainstream development. This pathway focuses on economic outcomes that are assumed to be achieved by increasing women’s access to material things, including cash income, loans, physical assets, and to markets. Gender equity indicators, which measure progress toward these outcomes, cannot escape reinforcing them. We argue that far from being neutral; indicators are embedded in political and ideological agendas that serve as guides to the appropriate conduct of those whose performance or behaviour is being measured.
Policy proposals about social change and well-being shape the implementation of applied theatre projects through technologies such as evaluation practices and funding applications. Representations of projects can, in turn, effect public discourse about who participants are and why they are or are not ‘being well’. Like public policy, applied theatre for social change has to establish a problem that needs to be solved. Drawing on debates about change in applied theatre literature, we consider how funders, governments, and communities call on applied theatre practitioners to frame particular issues and/or people as problematic.
This paper examines the geography of local food through a spatial analysis of farms and farmers’ markets. It draws on two themes in the geo-graphical literature on local food, which focus on territorial and prox-imity definitions on one hand and on relationality on the other. Through GIS analysis, this paper explores spatial patterns of ninety-one farmers’ markets in Los Angeles County, California, USA; spatial patterns of 282 farms that supplied a sample of thirty-three markets; and intra-urban patterns of those supply chains. The results show an uneven geography of farms across California that supplied the sampled markets, but also show that farms travel just as far to markets in working-class neighborhoods as to wealthier neighborhoods.
This paper discusses the Inpaeng Network, an alternative farmers' organization in Northeastern Thailand, and its cooperative ventures with state institutions. The primary aim is to show how by drawing on state development discourse participants in community economies can make use of government assistance and resources for their projects.
We use two Christchurch case studies to think about the temporality of commoning, concluding that even transitional and temporary commoning can help normalise and make visible the practice, thus enabling commoner subjectivities.
What does it mean to be at home in a hot city? One response is to shut our doors
and close ourselves in a cocoon of air-conditioned thermal comfort. As the climate
warms, indoor environments facilitated by technical infrastructures of cooling are
fast becoming the condition around which urban life is shaped. The price we pay for
this response is high: our bodies have become sedentary, patterns of consumption
individualized, and spaces of comfortable mobility and sociality in the city, termed
in this paper as “infrastructures of care,” have declined. Drawing on the findings
of a transdisciplinary pilot study titled Cooling the Commons, this paper proposes
that the production of the home as an enclosed and private space needs to be
This article addresses the current restructuring of academia in Turkey through the example of the Academics for Peace petition and the institutional mechanisms of repression it instigated. We focus on the Solidarity Academies as alternative spaces of education and a unique form of collective resistance against the academic purges. We provide an empirically informed analysis of Solidarity Academies as spaces of commoning, the collective production and sharing of knowledge by emergent communities of struggle.
We are thrilled by Vicky Lawson’s deeply appreciative response to the Roepke Lecture and the written article. In her response, Vicky does more than we could ask for by inviting economic geographers to think with us about ways of reworking manufacturing (and other economic activities) that center on care for the well-being of people and of the planet. Vicky goes to the heart of our project by highlighting the importance we place on looking for the ethical openings that arise in the current context of climate change and growing socioeconomic inequality. As she identifies, part of our armory includes tactics of attending to already existing possibilities that are hidden from view and reframing understandings of what an economy is for.
In a world beset by the problems of climate change and growing socioeconomic inequality, industrial manufacturing has been implicated as a key driver. In this article we take seriously Roepke’s call for geographic research to intervene in obvious problems and ask can manufacturing contribute to different pathways forward? We reflect on how studies have shifted from positioning manufacturing as a matter of fact (with an emphasis on exposing the exploitative operations of capitalist industrial restructuring) to a matter of concern (especially in advanced economies experiencing the apparent loss of manufacturing). Our intervention is to position manufacturing for the Anthropocene as a matter of care.
A diversity of place‐based community economic practices that enact ethical interdependence has long enabled livelihoods in Monsoon Asia. Managed either democratically or coercively, these culturally inflected practices have survived the rise of a cash economy, albeit in modified form, sometimes being co‐opted to state projects. In the modern development imaginary, these practices have been positioned as ‘traditional’, ‘rural’ and largely superseded. But if we read against the grain of modernisation, a largely hidden geography of community economic practices emerges. This paper introduces the project of documenting keywords of place‐based community economies in Monsoon Asia.
This contribution calls attention to the values of assemblage thinking for the study of contentious economies. A syntactical perspective can make visible social arrangements that are otherwise difficult to represent in traditional social movement categories. With the help of a jar of jam, an object that has meaningful entanglements in anti-camorra activism in Campania (Italy), the article begins by empirically illustrating instances of mobilisation that disrupt relationships of mafia dependency. The focus lies on the force of composition, the syntax of contention. The second section moves on to explore the theoretical backdrop of the analysis, and does so by suggesting some possible points of dialogue between social movement studies and assemblage thinking.
What does it mean to be at home in a hot city? One response is to shut our doors and close ourselves in a cocoon of air-conditioned thermal comfort. As the climate warms, indoor environments facilitated by technical infrastructures of cooling are fast becoming the condition around which urban life is shaped. The price we pay for this response is high: our bodies have become sedentary, patterns of consumption individualized, and spaces of comfortable mobility and sociality in the city, termed in this paper as “infrastructures of care,” have declined.
Despite the shortened commodity chain created for coffee through fair trade, there still exist a number of actors within certified commodity exchange. This chain is populated by disproportionately engaged actors, from a consumer looking for the certification seal, to coffee roasters working directly with coffee producing cooperatives, to producers striving to keep up with the standards for certification. Despite such disparities, connections are made between the roasters and the growers of coffee at multiple sites, from community-based projects to the transfer of knowledge and storytelling beyond the communities where coffee is cultivated.
This article examines unpaid work within urban agriculture sites. It focuses on the extra work—the surplus labor—that is performed to sustain these sites and how this work relates to subject formation. Land access and subjectivities are widely discussed in the urban agriculture literature, particularly in the Global North, but recent research has also identified the continual supply of labor as a crucial issue as well. However, work dynamics of urban agriculture have seldom been the object of analysis, and little is known about the relationship between unpaid urban agriculture work and subjectivity. I argue that surplus labor is useful for analysis because of the surplus value that is produced through urban agriculture.
In this article I engage with Latour's concept of 'learning to be affected' to think about the possibility of co-parents developing a kind of 'maternal intuition' based on embodied infant hygiene care practices. This is one of the most difficult articles I have written, and it took many years and spanned many of my own babies!
We describe the PhD Journey as one which is logistical, emotional and intellectual. We analyse our own experiences of collectivising aspects of doctoral study and supervision in the post-disaster context of Christchurch, describing -- and assembling -- a hybrid caring collective that included a variety of things from quakes to cakes.
The paper has been collaboratively written with co‐researchers across Southeast Asia and represents an experimental mode of scholarship that aims to advance a post‐development agenda.This paper introduces the project of documenting keywords of place‐based community economies in Monsoon Asia. It extends Raymond William’s cultural analysis of keywords into a non‐western context and situates this discursive approach within a material semiotic framing.
Deepening ecological crisis alongside a half century of widening inequality and economic instability are evidence that Business as Usual cannot go on. Transformation is required, particularly in the realm of corporate activity, the business of business. Shareholder primacy is a powerful social norm that constrains transformation. It positions publicly traded corporations as compelled by competitive necessity and bound by law to place shareholder returns first. This paper reviews critical legal theory that questions the historical precedence, legal coherence and practical consequence of shareholder primacy in corporate law. I consider Deakin’s (2011) suggestion that it might be more appropriate to think of the corporation as a commons managed for the benefit of multiple parties.
This paper stages an encounter between Relational Poverty Theory (RPT) and the solidarity economy movement. RPT understands poverty as the dynamic product of economic exploitation, political exclusion and cultural marginalization. The solidarity economy movement can be seen as a transformative political response to these dynamics aiming to replace exploitation with cooperation, exclusion with participation and marginalisation with practices of inclusion. Globally, more than sixty solidarity economy movements are coordinating efforts, developing associative relations between cooperative economic institutions, social justice movements, and one another. While these developments are encouraging, many practitioners are concerned about the movement’s future.
This paper, forthcoming in Arena reflects on the late Zygmunt Bauman's essay on the work ethic published in Arena in 1996. I began this paper the day after Zygmunt died, and took up with his question of what happens to the poor in a world where work disappears. His essay seemed to presage many of the current debates about postcapitalism, new forms of automation, the future of work and the role that basic income may play in a world with less work in the formal economy. In the current moment a life beyond capitalism seems more discernible, either as a post-work utopia or a condition of permanent precarity.
Climate change is creating challenges and opportunities for community development. The challenges arise from declining biophysical conditions and the socio-political and economic barriers that delay, delegitimize or co-opt genuine community responses. Opportunities are arising from global climate change activism networks that provide new resources and discourses for activists and community organizers. These challenges and opportunities are unevenly shaped by the possibility for genuine democratic contestation in different contexts. In this article we draw on recent climate justice mobilizations in Aotearoa New Zealand. These mobilizations called for divestment from fossil fuel activities by blocking access to major banks around the country that directly support the industry.
The reproductive and care work predominantly undertaken by women has historically been undervalued in traditional measures of the economy. However, calls for more work, or better work for women (and men) doesn’t necessarily solve the issues surrounding waged labour such as zero hour contracts, the ‘double work day’, and other forms of increasing precarity and competition. In this article I explore how alternative forms of labour exchange in the Wellington Timebank provide one way in which subjects can partially operate outside the waged economy. I draw on Jacques Rancière’s understanding of how a radical equality underpins a democratic politics to explore the everyday negotiations around labour that occur in this alternative economy.
Within participatory geography and relational aesthetic art literature there have been calls to focus on how participation is framed, who is included and excluded, the types of relations involved and the effects of such practices. Linked to these concerns, questions have also been raised around how participants are framed and understood in participatory projects. For instance, as self‐determining and knowing subjects who become politically affirmed through participation, or as subjects caught up in complex processes of becoming. In this article I show how the participatory art project ‘Productive Bodies’ in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, enabled participants to articulate the complex contradictions surrounding waged work, redundancy and unemployment.
The burgeoning literature on diverse and community economies has been relatively hopeful, exploring how people learn, enact new and reclaim other ways of meeting their needs outside of capitalist practices. For good reasons, much of this work has sought to avoid a conventional critical-leftist orientation, instead adopting what Gibson-Graham call a ‘weak theory’ approach ‘that welcomes surprise, entertains hope, makes connection, tolerates coexistence and offers care for the new’. Within this literature until recently, less attention has been given to how community economy collectives negotiate the everyday ethical dilemmas to enact interdependence.
In this paper, I consider the role of public engagement in the management of urban environments and its ability to undermine post-political discourses. In particular, I explore the ways in which the ethical propositions of an apoliticized environment are variously taken up uncritically, challenged, and sometimes modified through the public’s engagement with de-politicized discourses of environment management. Drawing from a case study in Philadelphia involving ecological restoration volunteers, I argue that volunteerism provides opportunities for the marginalization of the public, but also for confrontation and modification of expert knowledge.
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 essay is concerned with the use of and care for the commons as an object of inquiry, a practice of all social life, and as the operative condition of intellectual production.The essay continues the ‘Foundational Essays’ series developed by the Institute for Culture and Society on basic concepts and approaches in social enquiry and practice.
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.” I attempt to clear up a point of confusion in Dean’s reading of postcapitalist politics and the work of the Community Economies Collective (of which I am a member) in order to arrive at a point we share in common: the immanent relevance of communism to contemporary politics, as evidenced by Occupy and other events.