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. During 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. All of the questions however, point to ongoing pressing concerns around how to act ethically with human and non-human others in ways that decolonise our colonial, capitalist-oriented economy and society.
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 chapter, written for the Thinking in the World Reader (Bloomsbury Press), seeks to challenge and think beyond a key blockage in contemporary life: the conventional distinction between economy and ecology. As we argue, the distinction between these two domains severs us from transformative, ethically-infused encounters with our constitutive interdependencies. We explore one possible way to affirm and expand the politicization of this interdependence: a notion of "ecological livelihoods" linked with an ethics and politics of commoning.
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 project was funded by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), and delivered by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) Swinburne in partnership with Community Recycling Network Australia (CRNA) and Resource Recovery Australia. The project aims were: to improve understanding of how the environmental and social impacts of NSW-based community recycling enterprises are currently measured; to use this information to suggest some common indicators against which they could more effectively document and report on their performance in these areas; and to consider the implications of this work for sustainability-focused social enterprises more broadly.
Public sector interest in social innovation is rapidly growing around the world. However, only recently has substantial empirical research emerged to support practice. Through combining Community Economies research methods with emerging new public governance literature, this thesis makes a unique contribution to the field. A language politics is developed, based on two experimental conceptual frameworks. Using these, social innovation assemblages are explored, with a particular focus on social procurement relationships. Openings for performing new kinds of economy are established, offering a counter to ‘fast policy’ approaches and contributing to decentring prevailing discourses of intractable ‘wicked problems’.
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 1980, R. W. Butler published his tourism area cycle of evolution model graphing a correlation of number of tourists on the y-axis and time on the x-axis. Although a location’s capacity for number of tourists and the specific number of sustainable years may vary from location to location, Butler proposed that every tourist location evolves through a common set of stages: exploration, involvement, development, consolidation, stagnation, and then some variation of rejuvenation or decline. Butler’s model frames the resources that enable a region to become a tourist destination as finite and ultimately exhaustible.
From today’s perspective, early 20th century ‘Area Studies’ texts represent a relic form of geographical research and writing. These compendiums of place-based knowledge present what we now consider to be a layperson’s understanding of ‘geography’ – details of landforms, climate, land use, economic activities, urban patterns and so on. This empirical content is described in language littered with the judgemental adjectives associated with hierarchical knowledge systems
Many designers today (including ourselves) are experimenting with how their practice can engage in meaningful ways with the complexity of pressing social and environmental issues. Being very much concerned with the politics and power relations that run through such issues, in this paper we will explore what points of orientation the framework of the ‘commons’ and that of ‘community economies’ – seen from an autonomist and feminist Marxist perspective – can offer when working on socially and politically engaged projects.
Recent uses of performativity have been engaged with bridging the gap between the economy and politics. The concept of performation has for instance been used to enable discursive and material assemblages that challenge this dichotomy, with the general aim of transforming the economy. While the overall intent of this article is to contribute to this bridging, its direction of travel is the opposite: to bring the economy into politics. Specifically, it situates the notion of performativity within studies on grassroots politics in a material sense. First, it discusses some of the leading scholarship on grassroots movements, focusing on their take on the economy.
In the early 1990s, a group of housing activists from Washington, D.C. traveled to Johannesburg to help start the first housing cooperatives in South Africa’s history. These activists were from Washington Innercity Self Help, or WISH, a community-based group that directed much of its work towards helping low-income tenants purchase their buildings from their landlords and form limited-equity housing cooperatives – collectively owned housing that, because of restrictions placed on resale prices, would be affordable to poor people for years to come.
This paper analyzes the development of an inventory of vacant buildings and land in Trenton, New Jersey that resulted from a research partnership between the Rutgers University Center for Urban Environmental Sustainability; Isles, Inc. a Trenton-based non-governmental organization; and the City of Trenton. Participatory research design between university and NGO staff led to a smartphone GIS survey tool that functioned through web and desktop GIS. University students and community residents collected data through a smartphone GIS application and visually inspected almost every property within the city’s boundaries.
Intrinsically, community development involves navigating dilemmas. These dilemmas have intensified as neoliberal “arts of government” become more widespread and a “results agenda” more entrenched. Recent studies explore how community development practitioners manage the ambiguities of this current context. This article contributes by exploring how practitioners who work with Aboriginal communities in Central and Northern Australia navigate the dilemmas they encounter. Consistent with other studies, we find that practitioners draw on the foundations of community development practice while also responding to the specific characteristics of the setting.
In this article, we argue that paying attention to the diverse assemblages of care enables us to go beyond simplistic natural versus medical models of birth and maternity care. We draw on interviews with women in New Zealand.
This review essay of Miranda Joseph's Debt to Society reflects on its relevance to both Aotearoa New Zealand and community economies thinking.
Part of a special issue 'Activists with(out) organisation' edited by Richard White and Patricia Wood, this article argues that the environmental and caring labour of mothers within the home is a kind of collective economic and environmental activism, where the collective is hybrid human and more than human. I connect the work mothers do in the home with the kinds of shared concerns community economies activists gather around.
The economic empowerment of women is emerging as a core focus of both economic
development and gender equality programs internationally. At the same time there is
increasing importance placed on measuring outcomes and quantifying progress towards
gender and development goals. These trends raise significant questions around how well
gender differences are understood, especially in economies dominated by the informal sector
and characterised by a highly gendered division of labour, as is the case in many Pacific
countries. How well do existing international and national indicators of gender equality
reflect the experiences and aspirations of Pacific women and men? What do concepts such as
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.
In this paper we use the concept of surviving well to reframe contemporary discussion of happiness and wellbeing in the context of international development discourse. While the attempts to move beyond metrics that privilege economic growth as the singular indicator of progress, it's equally true that our understanding of happiness and wellbeing needs to move beyond individual notions of contentment and towards a measure that allows people to thinking about their own needs in relation to others and in relation to planetary wellbeing.
Today the planet faces a genuine tragedy of the unmanaged “commons.” For decades an open access and unmanaged resource has been treated with the same sort of disregard as Hardin’s pasture was treated. The planet’s life-supporting atmosphere has been spoiled by “‘help yourself’ or ‘feel free’ attitudes” (Hardin 1998: 683). We are now faced with the seemingly impossible task of transforming an open access and unmanaged planetary resource into a commons which is managed and cared for. With the cause and impacts of global warming now beyond debate, we are being pressed to take responsibility and to act in new ways. But how are we to do this? What type of politics is called for?
In preparing for the talk associated with this paper I was invited to consider two things—the future of the arts in the era of austerity and restructuring and what the arts community might learn from the environmental movement. My thoughts on how to respond to this positioning is directed by my involvement with the Community Economies Collective (CEC) an international group of activist-scholars interested in enacting post-capitalist economies. And it is in this context that the concept of the Big Society provides us with an interesting point of departure.
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).