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.
How do Public Policy and Programs Enable Social innovation Activities that Contribute to More Sustainable Forms of Local and Regional Development?
Paper on doctoral research in process.
Babies Bottoms for a Better World: Modernities, Hygiene and Social Change in Northwest China and Australasia
Competitively selected paper presented at the inaugural Social Frontiers: The Next Edge of Social Innovation Research conference in London, November 2013.
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.
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.
In this paper I explore how notions of dwelling might be adapted to explain how diverse economic practices produce new economic spaces and subjectivities within and beyond the home.
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.
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 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.
Article for the Planning Institute of Australia (NSW) journal
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.
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.
This article examines the economy of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and traces its connections to both historic and contemporary factory and farm occupations.
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.
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!).
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.
Worker Co-operatives and Spaces of Possibility: An Investigation of Subject Space at Collective Copies
This paper explores the production of space and time at a worker co-operative copy shop in Western Massachusetts.
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.
The book review explores how a range of authors engage with the political possibilities and limitations of affect theory.
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.
In this editorial we review Joseph Stiglitz's Price of Inequality. While we admire his analysis of the problems caused by economic inequality, we question whether or not the argument for progressive, regulated capitalism is the best thing we can hope for and work towards.
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.
Based on action research conducted in 1991, the study raises some of the issues encountered by women, men and families after the introduction of the 7-day roster. It highlights the need to consider factors broader than increased pay arrangements and men's leisure time.
The booklet is illustrated with cartoons by Gaynor Cardew.
This is a short review of Renata Salecl's ‘The Tyranny of Choice.’ Salecl shows us that our actions are not driven entirely by the rational mind but are influenced by unconscious desires that are themselves produced by a relationship to the symbolic order. One implication is that we can't simply will ourselves a new world. Stepping out of the political and ethical morass of fighting over which form of capitalism is better or more humane might require more than rational discussions about the vagaries of capitalism, speaking truth to power, or making rational demands on the state.
"The commons" is often represented in terms that place capitalism at the center of the story, thus making "a commons future" difficult to imagine. This paper examines this problematic through research on the common property management regime of New England fisheries, seeking to offer alternative representations of commons that might open up economic possibility.
Bodily Learning for a (Climate) Changing World: Registering Differences through Performative and Collective Research
There is widespread agreement that current climate change scenarios mean we have to change how we live on this planet. Yet our current understandings of social and behavioural change seem insufficient for the task at hand. In this paper we explore Bruno Latour’s notion of ‘learning to be affected’, and we argue that this idea of bodily learning seems well-suited to thinking about how people can be moved to act in response to the human and nonhuman world that is all around us. We also argue that research can prompt and sharpen this form of embodied learning when it is conducted in a performative and collective mode that is geared towards crafting rather than capturing realities.
This paper reveals how ethical economic decision making in a government-led local food project in the Philippines is generating social surplus, creating and sustaining commons and building a community-based food economy.
At the core of J.K. Gibson-Graham's feminist political imaginary is the vision of a decentralized movement that connects globally dispersed subjects and places through webs of signification. We view these subjects and places both as sites of becoming and as opportunities for belonging. But no longer can we see subjects as simply human and places as human-centered. Th arrival of the Anthropocene has thrown us onto new terrain.