Deepening ecological crisis alongside a half century of widening inequality and economic instability are evidence that Business as Usual cannot go on. Transformation is required, particularly in the realm of corporate activity, the business of business. Shareholder primacy is a powerful social norm that constrains transformation. It positions publicly traded corporations as compelled by competitive necessity and bound by law to place shareholder returns first. This paper reviews critical legal theory that questions the historical precedence, legal coherence and practical consequence of shareholder primacy in corporate law. I consider Deakin’s (2011) suggestion that it might be more appropriate to think of the corporation as a commons managed for the benefit of multiple parties.
We are thrilled by Vicky Lawson’s deeply appreciative response to the Roepke Lecture and the written article. In her response, Vicky does more than we could ask for by inviting economic geographers to think with us about ways of reworking manufacturing (and other economic activities) that center on care for the well-being of people and of the planet. Vicky goes to the heart of our project by highlighting the importance we place on looking for the ethical openings that arise in the current context of climate change and growing socioeconomic inequality. As she identifies, part of our armory includes tactics of attending to already existing possibilities that are hidden from view and reframing understandings of what an economy is for.
In a world beset by the problems of climate change and growing socioeconomic inequality, industrial manufacturing has been implicated as a key driver. In this article we take seriously Roepke’s call for geographic research to intervene in obvious problems and ask can manufacturing contribute to different pathways forward? We reflect on how studies have shifted from positioning manufacturing as a matter of fact (with an emphasis on exposing the exploitative operations of capitalist industrial restructuring) to a matter of concern (especially in advanced economies experiencing the apparent loss of manufacturing). Our intervention is to position manufacturing for the Anthropocene as a matter of care.
This paper stages an encounter between Relational Poverty Theory (RPT) and the solidarity economy movement. RPT understands poverty as the dynamic product of economic exploitation, political exclusion and cultural marginalization. The solidarity economy movement can be seen as a transformative political response to these dynamics aiming to replace exploitation with cooperation, exclusion with participation and marginalisation with practices of inclusion. Globally, more than sixty solidarity economy movements are coordinating efforts, developing associative relations between cooperative economic institutions, social justice movements, and one another. While these developments are encouraging, many practitioners are concerned about the movement’s future.
This paper, forthcoming in Arena reflects on the late Zygmunt Bauman's essay on the work ethic published in Arena in 1996. I began this paper the day after Zygmunt died, and took up with his question of what happens to the poor in a world where work disappears. His essay seemed to presage many of the current debates about postcapitalism, new forms of automation, the future of work and the role that basic income may play in a world with less work in the formal economy. In the current moment a life beyond capitalism seems more discernible, either as a post-work utopia or a condition of permanent precarity.
Climate change is creating challenges and opportunities for community development. The challenges arise from declining biophysical conditions and the socio-political and economic barriers that delay, delegitimize or co-opt genuine community responses. Opportunities are arising from global climate change activism networks that provide new resources and discourses for activists and community organizers. These challenges and opportunities are unevenly shaped by the possibility for genuine democratic contestation in different contexts. In this article we draw on recent climate justice mobilizations in Aotearoa New Zealand. These mobilizations called for divestment from fossil fuel activities by blocking access to major banks around the country that directly support the industry.
The reproductive and care work predominantly undertaken by women has historically been undervalued in traditional measures of the economy. However, calls for more work, or better work for women (and men) doesn’t necessarily solve the issues surrounding waged labour such as zero hour contracts, the ‘double work day’, and other forms of increasing precarity and competition. In this article I explore how alternative forms of labour exchange in the Wellington Timebank provide one way in which subjects can partially operate outside the waged economy. I draw on Jacques Rancière’s understanding of how a radical equality underpins a democratic politics to explore the everyday negotiations around labour that occur in this alternative economy.
Within participatory geography and relational aesthetic art literature there have been calls to focus on how participation is framed, who is included and excluded, the types of relations involved and the effects of such practices. Linked to these concerns, questions have also been raised around how participants are framed and understood in participatory projects. For instance, as self‐determining and knowing subjects who become politically affirmed through participation, or as subjects caught up in complex processes of becoming. In this article I show how the participatory art project ‘Productive Bodies’ in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, enabled participants to articulate the complex contradictions surrounding waged work, redundancy and unemployment.
The burgeoning literature on diverse and community economies has been relatively hopeful, exploring how people learn, enact new and reclaim other ways of meeting their needs outside of capitalist practices. For good reasons, much of this work has sought to avoid a conventional critical-leftist orientation, instead adopting what Gibson-Graham call a ‘weak theory’ approach ‘that welcomes surprise, entertains hope, makes connection, tolerates coexistence and offers care for the new’. Within this literature until recently, less attention has been given to how community economy collectives negotiate the everyday ethical dilemmas to enact interdependence.
In this paper, I consider the role of public engagement in the management of urban environments and its ability to undermine post-political discourses. In particular, I explore the ways in which the ethical propositions of an apoliticized environment are variously taken up uncritically, challenged, and sometimes modified through the public’s engagement with de-politicized discourses of environment management. Drawing from a case study in Philadelphia involving ecological restoration volunteers, I argue that volunteerism provides opportunities for the marginalization of the public, but also for confrontation and modification of expert knowledge.
From our atmosphere to the open ocean, from our languages to the rule of law, use without ownership underpins human experience. It is critical to our continued survival beyond the Anthropocene. These resources and properties are ineluctably shared because they are not wholly appropriable; they are used as part of a commons because they cannot be entirely exchanged. They are held in common because they cannot be completely enclosed. This essay is concerned with the use of and care for the commons as an object of inquiry, a practice of all social life, and as the operative condition of intellectual production.The essay continues the ‘Foundational Essays’ series developed by the Institute for Culture and Society on basic concepts and approaches in social enquiry and practice.
This paper is based on a talk I delivered at Rethinking Marxism’s 2013 international conference in conversation with Jodi Dean at a plenary session entitled “Crafting a Conversation on Communism.” I attempt to clear up a point of confusion in Dean
This paper considers the relevance of Franciscan monastic practice to contemporary postcapitalist politics in the time of the Anthropocene. Giorgio Agamben’s reflections on the monastic revolution of the eleventh and twelfth centuries explore the different relationships between the rules governing monastic life and materiality, wherein the renunciation of property and the practice of highest poverty give the greatest expression of a collective, monastic form of life. The embodied connection between having a rule and living it contrasts starkly with emergent Church doctrine that introduced a cynical split between the sacred and the material: good or bad, the priest only need say the words.
Over the past 20 years, the term “solidarity economy” (SE) has come to refer to economic activities that seek to promote overall quality of life within a community, as opposed to prioritizing private profit maximization in a competitive market. The organizations and enterprises comprising the solidarity economy tend to be collectively and democratically run for the benefit of their members. The activities associated with the solidarity economy do not preclude turning a profit (or generating surplus), nor do they necessarily require disengaging entirely from market exchange. But they usually exhibit a substantial alignment with ethical principles of social equity and solidarity, environmental sustainability, and pluralist democracy.
The record number of submissions we received in February 2016, apart from posing a major editorial challenge, confirmed our original intuition that a forum on the organization of alternative economies is timely. With this special issue, we would like to contribute to the current conversation on alternative economies, which is taking place in this journal (e.g. Bretos and Errasti, 2017; Cheney et al., 2014; Gibson-Graham, 1996b; Safri, 2015) and the broader organization studies community (e.g.
This commentary was invited by the special editors of this issue and is partly based on the Community Economies session that the four authors organised at the Social Movements Conference III: Resistance and Social Change in Wellington, 2016.1During the session, a number of questions were asked by participants. Some of these questions were new for us, while others have been asked of Community Economy scholars before.
In debates over post-capitalist politics, growing attention has been paid to the solidarity economy (SE), a framework that draws together diverse practices ranging from co-ops to community gardens. Despite proponents’ commitment to inclusion, racial and class divides suffuse the SE movement. Using qualitative fieldwork and an original SE dataset, this article examines the geospatial composition of the SE within the segregated geography of Philadelphia. We find that though the SE as a whole is widely distributed across the city, it is, with the exception of community gardens, largely absent from poor neighborhoods of color. We also identify SE clusters in racially and economically diverse border areas rather than in predominantly affluent White neighborhoods.
This paper aims to document the nature of social enterprise models in Australia, their evolution and institutional drivers. Design/methodology/approach: The paper draws on secondary analysis of source materials and the existing literature on social enterprise in Australia. Analysis was verified through consultation with key actors in the social enterprise ecosystem. Findings: With its historical roots in an enterprising non-profit sector and the presence of cooperative and mutual businesses, the practice of social enterprise in Australia is relatively mature. Yet, the language of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship remains marginal and contested.
This discussion paper documents gaps in professional legal support for small-scale sustainable economy initiatives (SSEIs) in Australia. It draws on (Section 2 and Appendices) data from multiple sources, including a three-year research project on the legal and regulatory support structures for SSEIs, two small surveys of social enterprise, a review of eight cognate initiatives, a review of law firm websites and direct contact with nine social enterprise-related capacity building programs around Australia.The paper first discusses what we mean by SSEIs and their relevance to current debates about innovation, the new economy and the need to respond to urgent economic and environmental challenges (Section 3).
This paper is part of a series of Working Papers produced under the International Comparative Social Enterprise Models (ICSEM) Project. Launched in July 2013, the ICSEM Project (www.iap- socent.be/icsem- project) is the result of a partnership between an Interuniversity Attraction Pole on Social Enterprise (IAP-SOCENT) funded by the Belgian Science Policy and the EMES International Research Network. It gathers around 200 researchers—ICSEM Research Partners—from some 50 countries across the world to document and analyze the diversity of social enterprise models and their eco- systems. As intermediary products, ICSEM Working Papers provide a vehicle for a first dissemination of the Project’s results to stimulate scholarly discussion and inform policy debates.
Scholars from the social sciences and humanities are increasingly seeking to improve the relevance and social impact of their research beyond the academy. In this context, 'designerly' thinking and methods are being drawn on to inform social change agendas, and a range of new relationships and collaborations are forming around this node of activity. This article critically reflects on this trajectory through a dialogue between ethnography, design and theoretical principles from anthropology and human geography. We draw on the example from a workshop during the ICD Symposium and our response to the challenge of reimagining Western Sydney as 'Riverlands, Sydney'.
In this paper, I examine the ways in which urban parks are enrolled in political struggles to reorient the techniques of urban governance toward entrepreneurialism as the only viable model for economic development. Through a case study of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park System, I examine a series of events during the previous three decades in which Fairmount Park has become subject to this reorientation toward entrepreneurialism. Specifically, I examine how parks, no longer treated as spaces of “nature”, have been reframed as self-supporting constituents of a business-minded urbanism, promotional tools for the attraction of new labor to the city, and a reinforcement of the notion of entrepreneurialism as the inevitable urban development strategy for the 21st century.
Childbirth has been transformed by increased use of life-saving medical technologies, greater understanding of the complex interplay between care environments, emotional states, complex biophysical processes and ongoing physical and mental health for babies and mothers. Maternity care has also been subject to broader changes in healthcare economies that reposition mothers as rational consumers in a health care marketplace. Drawing on empirical research we identify problems with imagining maternity care and the cared-for subject via 'choice' alone, and explore how the diverse assemblages that converge in birthing spaces could be better attended to through alternative 'logics of care' (Mol, 2008).
What might an alliance between Gibson-Graham’s concept of community economy and Laclau
and Mouffe’s concept of hegemony generate for theories and practices of everyday postcapitalist
politics? This essay theorizes a shared space between these concepts, opening up new ground for
politics. It provides an illustration of the dynamic of hegemony within a community economy
through empirical work carried out with food-sovereignty collectives in the Asturias region of
northern Spain. These collectives demonstrate economic practices that foreground our
communality and interdependence while negotiating the exclusion that accompanies all
politics. These food sovereignty economies demonstrate that when the concept of hegemony
This article introduces German language readers to the work of J. K. Gibson-Graham. Thematically, it discusses the relevance of gender and class as intertwined categories in the diverse economy perspective.
This paper explores the territoriality and politics of birth. Engaging with debates that are largely polarised between discourses of natural versus medical birth, in this paper I take an in depth look at one birth story, and look for a different way to think through how women's birth experiences might be understood. Written at the beginning of a year of research into women's birth experiences this paper represents my early thinking in the study.
This essay responds to the generous commentaries on the talks Jodi Dean and I delivered during the 2013 Rethinking Marxism International Conference. It offers further reflections on communism as a political project, on its relation to postcapitalist practices, and on Dean’s desire to “return to the party,” making two distinct interventions.
This paper argues that through becoming critical minds in the Latourian sense researchers can play a key role in enacting economic food futures in the Anthropocene. It proposes a new mode of critical inquiry by centering on three broad research matters of concern: (1) gathering and assembling economic diversity (2) human actancy and (3) nonhuman actancy.
Solidarity Economy is a movement that can build power within and across scales and win supportive policy and public resources. Using the development of SE in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield, Massachusetts as examples, the article discusses the possibilities and challenges for SE projects to negotiate across differing values and politics, racial and class divides, and the challenge of accessing startup capital and building finance.