Community Economies

Katherine Gibson

Contact Details:

Institute for Culture and Society
University of Western Sydney



BSc (Hons) (Syd) 1975
MA (Clark) 1980
PhD (Clark) 1981

Research Areas:

Economic geography: diverse economies and critiques and reformulations of economic theory, including theories of capitalist development, industrial restructuring, regional development, globalization, the enterprise, class and subjectivity, household labour and noncapitalist economic activities, social enterprises and cooperatives.


Regional geography: alternative community and regional economic development, regional governmentality and sustainability, community economies in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia and the US


Urban geography: rethinking urbanism in the light of feminist, postcolonial and queer theory, postmodern planning practices.


Feminist and poststructuralist research methods: participatory action research, constructing hybrid research collectives, interactive CD research outputs, film analysis and making.


Recent field based research: strengthening social enterprise development in the Philippines, USA and Australia; negotiating alternative regional economic development in the context of decentralization in the Philippines and Indonesia; interactions between community economies and capitalist agriculture in the oil palm growing regions of  PNG; the alternative economic activism in Hong Kong and the  Philippines of  Filipina contract migrants working as domestics; community conversations about rethinking economy and the region in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria and the Connecticut River Valley, USA


Post-industrial Pathways for a ‘Single Industry Resource Town’: a Community Economies Approach

Janet Newbury, Katherine Gibson

Although communities are constantly undergoing processes of becoming the Powell River community on Canada’s Pacific coast is in a unique transitional moment when it comes to possibilities for post-industrial economic pathways. With the downsizing of its main industry and employer over the past 3 decades, community members are currently exploring a diverse range of economic possibilities that extend beyond strictly capitalist options. Reading for economic diversity can help us to identify and pursue existing and potential economic pathways that enhance wellbeing for human and nonhuman community members. Knowing that outcomes of such an emergent process cannot be taken for granted, tracking ideas and practices as we have done here is critical for this kind of collaborative research, as it helps to enhance reflexivity and inform decisions.


J. Newbury and K. Gibson, 2014 “Post-industrial Pathways for a ‘Single Industry Resource Town’: a Community Economies Approach” in I. Vaccaro, K. Harper and S. Murray eds The Anthropology of Disconnection: Ethnographies of Post-industrialism Oxford and New York: Berghahn Press. Link not live yet.

Value in postcapitalist futures and more-than-capitalist pasts

Katherine Gibson

A contribution to a Book Symposium on George Henderson’s Value in Marx: The Persistence of Value in a More-Than-Capitalist World


Gibson, K. 2013. “Value in postcapitalist futures and more-than-capitalist pasts” Progress in Human Geography 37, 6: 844-847 Value in postcapitalist futures and more-than-capitalist pasts

Thinking around what a radical geography ‘must be’

Katherine Gibson

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. I explore some of the ways that insurrectionary geographies are being practised and are informed by an eclectic mix of political and theoretical traditions, including anarchism as well as some versions of marxism, but, more importantly are researching beyond the limits of both these political theories born of 19th century conditions and concerns.


K. Gibson, 2014 “Thinking around what a radical geography ‘must be’” Dialogues in Human Geography. Link not live yet.

Cultivating hybrid collectives: research methods for enacting community food economies in Australia and the Philippines

Ann Hill, Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson

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.

Cameron, J., K.Gibson and A. Hill, 2014. Cultivating hybrid collectives: research methods for enacting community food economies in Australia and the Philippines Local Environment 19(1), 118-132.

Different Merry-Go-Rounds: Families, Communities and the 7-Day Roster

Katherine Gibson

A booklet outlining some of the major impacts of the 7-day work roster on families and communities from the perspective of women in four coal-mining communities in Central Queensland, Australia.

Gibson, K. Different Merry-Go-Rounds: Families, Communities and the 7-Day Work Roster  (Clayton, Victoria: Monash University Centre for Women's Studies and Department of Geography and Environmental Science, 1993).

Building community-based social enterprises in the Philippines

Katherine Gibson, community economies collective

Community-based social enterprises offer a new strategy for people-centred local economic development in the majority „developing‟ world. In this chapter we recount the stories of four social enterprise experiments that have arisen over the last five years from partnerships between communities, NGOs and municipal governments in the Philippines, and university based researchers from Australia.

Community Economies Collective and Gibson, K. 2008, Building community-based social enterprises in the Philippines: diverse development pathways, 
Department of Human Geography, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, September 2008.
Also in A. Amin (ed.), The Social Economy: International Perspectives on Economic Solidarity. London: Zed Press, 2009.

Rethinking rural transformation

Katherine Gibson, a cahill, d mckay

This paper draws on ecological ideas to rethink the dynamics of rural economic transformation in the Philippines.


K. Gibson, A. Cahill and D. McKay, 2010 Rethinking the dynamics of rural transformation in a Philippine municipality Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers volume: pages

ABCD meets DEF: Using asset based community development to build economic diversity 2008

Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson

This paper reframes existing economic diversity as a community asset that can be built on for community and economic development. ĘIncludes strategies for doing this, and draws on examples from the Philippines and Australia

Diverse economies Kiribati

Katherine Gibson, m pretes

Diverse economic possibilities in Kiribati 

 Gibson, K. and M. Pretes. 2008. Openings in the body of capitalism: capital flows and diverse economic posibilities in Kiribati, Asia Pacific Viewpoint  49(3), 381-391.

Representing marginalisation: finding new avenues for economic and social intervention 2005

Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson

Discusses the limiting ways in which people in marginalised areas are portrayed in policy and research, and introduces a different way of representing marginalised groups and the more enabling economic and social policies that result.

Alternative Pathways to Community and Economic Development: The Latrobe Valley Community Partnering Project

Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson

Based on the Latrobe Valley Community Partnering Project, this paper introduces new ways of understanding disadvantaged areas, the economy, community and the research process in order to open up new ways of addressing social and economic issues.

Cameron, J. & Gibson, K. 2005. Alternative pathways to community and economic development: The Latrobe Valley community partnering project, Geographical Research 43(3), 274-85.

Participatory Action Research in a Poststructuralist Vein

Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson

This paper introduces a poststructuralist influenced participatory action research project seeking to develop new pathways for economic and community development in the context of a declining region.

Cameron, J. & Gibson, K. 2005. Participatory action research in a poststructuralist vein, Geoforum 36(3), 315-31.

Building Community Economies in Marginalised Areas

Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson

Elaborates an economic and social policy response to disadvantage that builds on the skills and ideas of marginalised groups.

Gibson, K. & Cameron. J. 2005. Building Community Economies in Marginalised Areas, in P. Smyth, T. Reddel & A. Jones (eds) Community and Local Governance in Australia, UNSW Press, Sydney, 149-166.

Women and Economic Activism in the Asia Pacific Region

Katherine Gibson

How women's activism in the Philippines, China and Papua New Guinea is helping build and strengthen community economies.


Gibson, K. 2002. Women and economic activism in the Asia Pacific region, Development 45(1), 74-79.

Transforming communities: towards a research agenda

Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson

A review of Australian research and policy interventions aimed at communities and regions from the perspective of the Community Economies Project

Gibson, K. and J. Cameron. 2001.Transforming communities: towards a research agenda, Urban Policy and Research 19(1), 7-24.

Community economies: economic politics outside the binary frame 1999

Katherine Gibson

Script of a presentation about the contradictory politics of "community" and how this website might help to redefine mainstream understandings of both community and economy.

Negotiating restructuring: a study of regional communities experiencing rapid social and economic change

Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson, a veno

How two communities in regional Victoria, Australia are beginning to rethink their relationship to processes of economic restructuring.