Community Economies

Claire Brault

Contact Details:

cbrault@polsci.umass.edu

Qualifications

PhD candidate (ABD), Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

MA Political Science, Université de Haute Bretagne, Rennes, France

Research Areas:

Political Philosophy

Post-Structuralist Feminist Theory

Science and Technology Studies

Environmental Political Theory

 

I first joined the Community Economies Collective to translate The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It) into French. I completed this project a couple months ago, and hope to publish it in the near future.

My own research focuses on the diverse temporalities emerging with the anthropocene and the current ecological crises. In this context, Environmentalist, Feminist and Queer discourses have gone some distance toward critiquing dominant conceptions of time, foregrounding questions of urgency, limits, tipping points, end-times, growth, capitalocentric progress and responsibility toward future human and more-than-human generations.

My work seeks to pursue and further weave together the temporal thread connecting these problems, continuing the work of J.K. Gibson-Graham insofar as I attempt to reconceptualize temporalities so as to make more-than-capitalist times visible and show their diversity, as Gibson-Graham did in their reconceptualization of space. In other words, I focus on the temporal dimension of diverse economies. I show that environmentalists advocating for “slow food”, “de-growth,” and “sustainability” share a concern with proposing new relationships to time, away from conceptions of time as linear and coterminous with capitalocentric growth or progress.

My contribution is an attempt to “queer” capitalist temporalities (I use the verb “queering” following Gibson-Graham). Queering capitalist economies, I argue, requires that we queer the temporalities associated with them, to proliferate already existing diverse temporalities. To that end, and building on the concept of “utopia,” I denounce a temporality that assumes infinite growth in a finite world. The term I propose to describe and contest this capitalocentric temporality is “uchronia”: capitalist growth-driven progress is a timeless, dangerously idealized temporality, just like “utopia” refers both to a nowhere place and to an ideal place. I highlight diverse eco-temporalities which, I argue, contest capitalocentric conceptions of time. In this perspective, I propose a new conceptual apparatus including my notions of “counter-uchronia,” “anti-uchronia,” and “heterochronia.”

My argument is grounded in Nietzsche’s concept of eternal return, as it feeds into a rejection of teleologies of progress, and prompts us to live our lives as though we were prepared to re-live them eternally – thus going much beyond a concept like sustainability. As such, the eternal return renders a single direction to time impossible, and prompts us to see any meaning or end to time as contingent upon human and nonhuman creation in the here and now. My work is highly interdisciplinary, as I draw from post-structuralist feminist and environmental thought as well as science studies to embed my research in close readings of scientific texts (climatology and the geosciences in particular), science fiction, dance and architecture.