Since all communities face their own sets of unique challenges and assets, this report explores possibilities for new economic futures in the context of one particular community. By contextualizing the discussion within broader economic and political realities, it also provides insights for other communities that are undergoing economic and social transitions and striving to do so in a sustainable and humane way.
In a recent essay Michael Hardt gives voice to a widespread discontent with the left-academic project of critique, stemming from its failure to deliver on its emancipatory promises. Scholarship, in geography and many other social science disciplines is dominated by a pre-occupation with charting the intricate connections between neoliberal governance and an expansive capitalism. As Hardt and many others have observed, the process of critical exposure fails to incite a political response from broader publics. As an alternative to the failed politics of critique, Hardt — inspired by Foucault's engagement with the cynics—argues for a practice of militant biopolitics—an autonomous mode of reflecting, thinking and acting together that eschews expert knowledge.
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.
Much has been written about families and their influence on relationships and research in fieldwork, yet seldom has the absence of family in the field received analytical attention.
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.
In water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) literature and interventions, it is common to class households with anything other than private toilets as without sanitation. This implies that the people who use forms of hygiene and sanitation relying on collective toilets and alternative strategies are somehow unhygienic. Yet residents of Xining (Qinghai Province, China) rely on hygiene assemblages that do not always include private toilets, but nonetheless still work to guard health for families with young children. In this paper, I develop a postdevelopment approach to hygiene and sanitation based on starting with the place-based hygiene realities already working to guard health in some way, then working to multiply possibilities for future sanitation and hygiene strategies.
This paper draws on interviews with economic development professionals in Maine (USA) to pursue two tasks: first, to explore the potentials and limits of Calsikan 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.
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.
This paper was written as part of a suite of papers presented at a Wenner-Gren Foundation Workshop on ‘Crisis, Value and Hope: Rethinking the Economy.’ It brings diverse economy thinking and the practice of weak theorizing to bear on the anthropological interest in producing thick description.
Literature review of Urban Political Ecology. Focuses on the need for more work on environmental imaginary, governance, and the non-human.
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.
Artists and artisans have a crucial role in the sustainability of the creative economy. By utilizing a participatory action research approach seeded by the work of J. K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron, and Julie Graham's study of community economies in the Pioneer Valley, The Rethinking the Creative Economy Project demonstrates how a collaborative research methodology can reappropriate development from the exploitation of artists and artisans as a panacea for economically challenged communities and as a tool that can help perform a postcapitalist environment.
The article discusses the theoretical openings accorded by the recognition of economic difference and contingency within the Marxist tradition, exploring their potential contributions towards imagining and enacting a postcapitalist politics of economic transformation and experimentation.
This article engages with the notion of the city as capitalist space, focusing on the specific actors that come together to realign economically heterogeneous spaces into the monolithic, capitalist city.
In this short commentary, I engage with other economic geographers reflecting on whether there is an 'Antipodean' Economic Geography. I argue that this is less a matter of fact and more of a point of gathering: by naming and gathering something called an Antipodean Economic Geography, what possibilities do we enable and disable for new kinds of economies and geographies?
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 Zizek, 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.
Written as a response to a series of commentaries on 'Antipodean Economic Geography’ this piece draws on my fieldwork experience to question whether it is useful to invoke the ‘otherness’ of the Antipodes. I call for a habituation of the practice of looking for difference as a way of cutting across the Antipodean-Metropole binary invoked in the discussion.
This introduction shows how J. K. Gibson-Graham's work continues to inspire current scholarship in the Marxian tradition. It provides an overview of articles published in Rethinking Marxism as Part I of a two-part symposium.
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.
Phil Ireland and I collaborated on this paper during his PhD studies while I was at Macquarie University. We sought to bring together his work on Climate Change Adaptation with my thinking on post-development. We argue that when it comes to efforts to support Climate Change Adaptation in the majority world, it is important to challenge technocratic approaches that dismiss the value of local innovations. Instead we draw inspiration from the work of J.K. Gibson-Graham and their injunction to refuse to know too much.
Much of J.K. Gibson-Graham’s work has been aimed at opening up ideas about what action is, both by broadening what is considered action (under the influence of feminist political imaginaries and strategies), and by refusing the old separation between theory and action. But the coming of the Anthropocene forced Julie and I to think more openly about what is the collective that acts. In this lecture I ask: what might it mean for a politics aimed at bringing other words into being to displace humans from the centre of action and to see more-than-human elements as part of the collective that acts?
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.
Article for the Planning Institute of Australia (NSW) journal
This paper challenges the ways in which the First World/Third World binary, coupled with a "capitalocentric" discourse of economic development, limit possibilities for economies of community, cooperation and participation. Fisheries are used as an example to argue that undermining the presence of capitalism in the First World and making space for that which has been excluded (for example, community-based and territorial fisheries) requires a new economic and spatial imaginary.
In a context of climate change, this paper uses J.K. Gibson-Graham's concept of a community economy to develop new economic possibilities outside of the growth model. We argue that cooperatives offer a significant transformative opportunity to resocialise and repoliticise economies away from the economic growth imperative.
The discourse of fisheries science and management displaces community and culture from the essential economic dynamic of fisheries. The goal of this dominant discourse is to enclose fisheries, to constitute it as within the singular and hegemonic economy of capitalism. Alternative economies, such as those based on the presence of community, are always seen as either existing before or beyond the dominant economic formation. The category of community is, nevertheless, being incorporated into contemporary fisheries science and management where it has the potential to disrupt the ontological foundations of the current management regime. This paper explores this potential disruption.
By drawing from the experience of a community education project, this article demonstrates how community members can understand ourselves to be part of the relational dynamics through which collective change can take place.
In this article, the dynamics through which social processes are being increasingly individualized are called into question, and alternative constructions are offered. When subjectivity and ethics are reconceptualized, new paths for ethical engagement and non-unitary subjects begin to emerge.