Community Economies

Ethan Miller

Contact Details:

JED Collective (Greene, ME, USA)

Bates College (Lewiston, ME, USA)

Email: [email protected]


PhD, Political and Social Thought (Western Sydney University , Australia), 2015

MS, Geography (University of Massachusetts Amherst), 2011

BA, Environmental Studies (Bates College, Lewiston, ME), 2000

Research Areas:
  • Rethinking economy and ecology
  • Ecological livelihoods
  • Solidarity economy & community economy approaches to regional development
  • Radical democracy theory & practice
  • Material-semiotics, biosemiotics, assemblage theory & "new materialisms"
  • Post-marxian politics & political economy

Anticapitalism or Postcapitalism? Both!

Ethan Miller

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.

Economy as Ecological Livelihood

Ethan Miller, JK Gibson-Graham

This book chapter challenges the conventional separations between "economy" and "ecology," proposing instead a perspective of "ecological livelihoods" in which sustenance is understood as an always-collective process of ethical negotiation involving humans and myriad living others. Drawing on and modifying Gibson-Graham's previous work on "ethical coordinates," we suggest some glimmers of what an ethical economics in an acknowledged more-than-human world might look like.

Gibson-Graham, J.K. and Ethan Miller. "Economy as Ecological Livelihood" in Katherine Gibson, Deborah Bird Rose, and Ruth Fincher (Eds). Manifesto for the Living in the Anthropocene. Brooklyn, NY: Puncum Books.

Ecological Livelihoods: Rethinking “Development” Beyond Economy, Society, and Environment

Ethan Miller

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. This paper proposes a concept of "ecological livelihoods" as one experimental step in this direction.

Economization and Beyond: (Re)composing Livelihoods in Maine, USA

Ethan Miller

This paper draws on interviews with economic development professionals in Maine (USA) to pursue two tasks: first, to explore the potentials and limits of Çalsikan 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.

Miller, Ethan (Forthcoming). "Economization and Beyond: (Re)composing Livelihoods in Maine, USA." Environment and Planning A.

Surplus of Surplus: From Accounting Convention to Ethical Coordinates

Ethan Miller

This paper explores what we might call "diverse economies of surplus," attempting to further develop Gibson-Graham's notion of surplus as an "ethical coordinate" and examining a number of key ethical and political questions raised when surplus is pushed beyond its conventional Marxian formulation.

Miller, Ethan. 2013. "Surplus of Surplus: From Accounting Convention to Ethical Coordinates." Paper presented at the Rethinking Marxism Gala, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 21 September 2013.

Community Economy: Ontology, Ethics and Politics for Radically-Democratic Economic Organzing

Ethan Miller

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.

Miller, Ethan (2013). "Community Economy: Ontology, Ethics and Politics for Radically-Democratic Economic Organizing," Rethinking Marxism, 25(4).

Occupy! Connect! Create! Imagining Life Beyond 'The Economy'

Ethan Miller

Inspired by and written for the global #Occupy Movement, this text is part theory, part strategy and part call-to-action for the immediate and long-term work of identifying and seizing spaces of democratic practice (occupy!), linking them together in networks of mutual support and recognition (connect!), and drawing on our collective strength to actively create new ways of meeting our needs and making our livings (create!).

Miller, Ethan. 2011. "Occupy! Connect! Create! Imagining Life Beyond "The Economy," in Amber Hickey (Ed.) A Guidebook of Alternative Nows. Los Angeles: Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Press.

Rethinking Economy for Regional Development: Ontology, Performativity and Enabling Frameworks for Participatory Vision and Action

Ethan Miller

This thesis involves three interrelated projects: first, a critique of conventional regional development literature; second, an exploration of the "performativity" of (economic) discourse at both conceptual and material levels; and third, a survey of alternative economic ontologies that might help us to imagine more diverse, ecological, equitable and democratic livelihoods.


Miller, Ethan. 2011. Rethinking Economy for Regional Development: Ontology, Performativity and Enabling Frameworks for Participatory Vision and Action. MS Thesis. Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst MA, USA.

Solidarity Economy: Key Concepts and Issues

Ethan Miller

An overview of concepts and strategic organizing practices of the emerging solidarity economy movement.


Miller, E. 2010. Solidarity Economy: Key Concepts and Issues, in E. Kawano and T. Masterson and J. Teller-Ellsberg (eds), Solidarity Economy I: Building Alternatives for People and Planet. Center for Popular Economics: Amherst, MA.

Independence from the Corporate Economy

Ethan Miller

This article discusses the power of telling different economic stories, and making connections between diverse initiatives, in the work of imagining and enacting more just and joyful community economies.


Miller, E. 2007. Independence from the Corporate Economy, Yes! Magazine Winter Issue.

Other Economies Are Possible

Ethan Miller

Discussion of the history and concept of "solidarity economy" and possible implementations in the U.S. context.


Miller, E. 2006. Other Economies Are Possible: Organizing Toward an Economy of Cooperation and Solidarity, Dollars and Sense 266(July/August).

Solidarity Economics: Building New Economies From the Bottom-Up and the Inside-Out

Ethan Miller

A pamphlet discussing the concept of "solidarity economy" as a tool for linking and strengthening emerging networks of cooperative economic projects. Written for use in community and popular education contexts.


Miller, E. 2005. Solidarity Economics: Building Other Economies from the Bottom-Up and the Inside-Out, Greene, ME: JED Collective.