This commentary responds to papers by Jodi Dean and Stephen Healy in a special issue of Rethinking Marxism, proposing that one does not need to choose between being an anti-capitalist revolutionary attentive to the material power of capitalist colonization, or being a post-capitalist ethical subject, eschewing critique, and entirely disavowing capitalism and its forms of violence. Community economies theory can be significantly strengthened through increased engagement with two key domains of praxis that it has tended to avoid: militant cross-sector organizing and a non-totalizing critique of capital.
This practice-based research sets out to investigate and intervene in the tense relation between the production of socially as well as politically relevant design work and the socio-economic precariousness many designers experience. Starting from an engagement with the precarious working conditions of designers, their genealogy over the last 30+ years and the role precarisation plays in forming docile creative subjects, the research moves on to a wider critique of the political economy and of its precarising value practices. Based on this analysis, it then considers the strategic use that can be made of concepts around the commons in order to undo procedures of precarisation.
[EN: Value with No Price? A Study on the Motives and Ethics of Unpaid Translation], Master’s thesis, Master’s Programme in Multilingual Communication and Translation Studies, School of Language, Translation and Literary Studies, University of Tampere, Finland.
The limited-equity cooperatives that emerged in Washington, D.C. in the 1970s and '80s were a form of the commons: a resource that is governed collectively by its members, and is used not to extract profit for a few individuals, but to support the lives of a group. The commons are a dignified basis of survival for poor people who are largely cut out of capitalist markets, an alternative to both market- and state-oriented approaches to managing resources and sustaining life. In Washington, a housing commons arose when two historical factors came together in the 1970s: the return of Home Rule and a wave of gentrification and tenant organizing.
Community-produced spaces such as community gardens are attracting widespread scholarly interest for the potential of not only food production, but also for social, environmental, and educational benefits. Yet community gardens have also been scrutinized as sites of governmentality that produce neoliberal subjects. In this article, six case studies are analyzed as representative of three ways to organize and manage gardens—grassroots, externally-organized, and active nonprofit management. I use performativity theory to examine how definitions and enactments of community can be used to include, exclude, or bridge difference.
This editorial introduces the papers that form this special edition on Researching Diverse Food Initiatives. The papers had their genesis in a series of sessions held at the Institute of Australian Geographers annual conference in September 2009. The sessions sought to draw together research on existing alternatives to mainstream agriculture and to further understand the role of research and researchers in contributing to the movements they study. This editorial focuses on two themes arising from the papers: the plethora of diverse food initiatives from across the globs; and the role of research in helping to strengthen this diversity.
Research is increasingly recognised as a generative and performative practice that contributes to shaping the world we come to live in. Thus part of the research ‘process’ involves being explicit about the worlds we want our research to contribute to and reflecting on how the concepts we use might help or inhibit this agenda. This paper is based on our commitment to strengthening the contributions that grassroots renewable energy initiatives might make to a climate changing world. However, to detect the potential of these initiatives, familiar concepts of scale and markets have to be recast.
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. As an alternative to the failed politics of critique, Hardt — inspired by Foucault's engagement with the cynics—argues for a practice of militant biopolitics—an autonomous mode of reflecting, thinking and acting together that eschews expert knowledge.
A review of The Solidarity Economy Alternative: Emerging Theory and Practice, edited by Vishwas Satgar (Durban: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2014).
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 that might open up possibilities for unexpected alliances and alternative regional development pathways.
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.
A contribution to a Book Symposium on George Henderson’s Value in Marx: The Persistence of Value in a More-Than-Capitalist World.
This paper uses key concepts from psychoanalytic theory to explore the fantasies that structure social discourses around global warming and resource depletion as key features of the anthropocene. Forthcoming S. Pile and P. Kingsbury http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=4824&
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. We argue that in a climate changing world, the hybrid collective method fosters opportunities for a range of human and nonhuman participants to act in concert to build community food economies.
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. In this paper, I develop a postdevelopment approach to hygiene and sanitation based on starting with the place-based hygiene realities already working to guard health in some way, then working to multiply possibilities for future sanitation and hygiene strategies.
Written with Robyn Dowling this chapter offers a discussion of theories of identity in human geography, and draws on recent research by each of the authors to elaborate new challenges to the way geographers think about identity. Includes consideration of the impacts of J.K. Gibson-Grahams thinking around subjectivity, collectivity, and social change to geographers engagements with identity across different fields.
Literature review of Urban Political Ecology. Focuses on the need for more work on environmental imaginary, governance, and the non-human.
At the same time as fair trade certified products are capturing an increasing market share, a growing number of scholars and practitioners are raising serious questions about who benefits from certification. Through a critique of north–south narratives, this paper draws on contemporary themes in fair trade scholarship to draw out different ways of thinking about fair trade outside of the dichotomous north–south framing. I argue that, through the creation of fair trade subjects of the ‘‘global north’’ and ‘‘global south,’’ certification has normalized and naturalized dichotomous power relations.
A radio wave appears to be fleeting. It cannot be seen or touched, apparently ungrounded, an ethereal presence detached from the earth. Yet radio in its smallest forms can be deeply connected to the land. The particular geography of microradio can be a powerful tool for fighting for the right to be in a certain place: the right to stay put over time, to create culture, to dwell. Here, I examine the case of one contemporary microradio station in its struggles against neighborhood displacement, and consider the possibilities for the future.
This chapter discusses the activities of Inpaeng, a farmers’ network in Northeastern Thailand committed to empower farming households through a mix of homegrown strengths and acquired know-how. Based on on-site findings as well as secondary data the chapter demonstrates innovative strategies to maintain economic, social, and environmental sustainability in the region.
•Community gardens are often seen as temporary uses of vacant land.
•Gardeners see them as important parts of neighborhoods and cities.
•Local governments and organizations historically planned gardens to be temporary.
•Increasingly, gardeners reproduce those dominant narratives as well.
•Rethinking these transformations can lead to better policy toward vacant land.
Take Back the Economy dismantles the idea that the economy is separate from us and best comprehended by experts. It demonstrates how the economy is the outcome of the decisions and efforts we make every day. Full of exercises and inspiring examples from around the world, it shows how people can implement small-scale changes in their own lives to create ethical economies. Click here for a copy of the introduction (provided with the publisher's permission).
A must read for those who seek to change the world bottom up — Massimo De Angelis
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.