Community Economies

Boone Shear

Contact Details:

Boone Shear

University of Masssachusetts Amherst


M.A. Department of Anthropology Western Michigan University

PhD (ABD), Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Research Areas:

Community Responses to Neoliberal Restructuring

Green Economy, Solidarity Economies, Diverse Economies

Community Organizing and Social Movements

Activitist Anthropology


Making the Green Economy: Politics, Desire, and Economic Possibility

Boone Shear, shear

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.

Shear, Boone. 2014. Making the Green Economy: Politics, Desire, and Economic Possibility. Journal of Political Ecology. 21: 193-209.

Introduction: Engaged Scholarship for Non-Capitalist Political Ecologies

Boone Shear

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.

Burke, Brian J. and Boone Shear. 2014. Introduction: Engaged Scholarship for Non-Capitalist Political Ecologies. In Burke B.J. and B.W. Shear (eds) 2014. Non-Capitalist Political Ecologies. Special Section of the Journal of Political Ecology. 21: 127-144.

Warm Bodies: Zom-Rom Solidarity Econ

Boone Shear, Stephen Healy

A review of the film Warm Bodies (2013), a dark-comedy featuring zombies and romance. We read Warm Bodies as inhabiting today's growing social imaginary and belief that even amidst growing inequalities, austerity and unfolding ecological challenges, another world is truly possible.

Kalamazoo's Promise: Exploring the Violence of Economic Development

Boone Shear

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 Žižek, 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.

Shear, Boone W. and Lyon-Callo Vin. 2013. Kalamazoo’s Promise: Exploring the Violence of Economic Development. City and Society. 25 (1): 70-91

Beyond Critique: Anthropology of and for Non-capitalism

Boone Shear

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.

Shear, Boone and Burke, Brian. 2013. Beyond Critique: Anthropology of and for Non-Capitalism. Anthropology News.

Tyranny of Choice Review

Boone Shear

This is a short review of Renata Salecl's The Tyranny of Choice. Salecl shows us that our actions are not driven entirely by the rational mind but are influenced by unconscious desires that are themselves produced by a relationship to the symbolic order. One implication is that we can’t simply will ourselves a new world. Stepping out of the political and ethical morass of fighting over which form of capitalism is better or more humane might require more than rational discussions about the vagaries of capitalism, speaking truth to power, or making rational demands on the state.

Shear, Boone W. 2012. Review of Renata Salecl's The Tyranny of Choice. Society and Space-Environment and Planing D. July.


Shear, B. and S. Healy 2012. “The Progressive Struggle to Save Capitalism'

Boone Shear, Stephen Healy

In this editorial we review Joseph Stiglitz’s Price of Inequality. While we admire his analysis of the problems caused by economic inequality we question whether or not the argument for progressive, “regulated” capitalism is the best thing we can hope for and work towards.

Shear, B. and S. Healy 2012. “The Progressive Struggle to Save Capitalism´ Truthout September 28, 2012

Occupy Wall Street: A Gift for the Economy

Boone Shear, Stephen Healy

Written in the early weeks of the Occupy movement, this short essay understands Occupy as reflecting and releasing dormant and suppressed economic values from which to imagine and practice a new world.

Shear, Boone and Healy, Stephen. 2011. Occupy Wall Street: A Gift for the Economy. Truthout.