Nate Gabriel
Published: May 2018

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.

Abby Templer Rodrigues
Published: March 2018

This dissertation explores the contours of artistic economic activity through participatory action research conducted with artists and artisans in the Greater Franklin County, Massachusetts. The creative economy has drawn significant attention over the past ten years as a principle economic sector that can stimulate the redevelopment of post-industrial cities. However, dominant creativity–based development strategies tend to cater to the tastes of an economically privileged, and implicitly white, “creative class,’ leading to gentrification and social exclusion based on race, ethnicity, class, and gender.

The Convento de Maria del Giglio in Bolsena, Italy4 Photo by Elizabeth Barron, 2013
Stephen Healy , katherine Gibson
Published: January 2018

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.

Kelly Dombroski, Stephen Healy
Published: January 2018

How can we work to transform our economies so that all can survive well together? In the Millennium declaration, signatories pledged to “spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty”, eventually resulting in the detailed targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Setting targets is a management strategy which assumes the problem of poverty is primarily a lack of goal-setting, vision, or resource allocation. This is one important aspect of the problem to be sure, and the SDG process has certainly altered resource allocations and produced results.

Stephen Healy
Published: January 2018

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’s reading of postcapitalist politics and the work of the Community Economies Collective (of which I am a member) in order to arrive at a point we share in common: the immanent relevance of communism to contemporary politics, as evidenced by Occupy and other events.

Stephen Healy
Published: January 2018

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.

Maliha Safri, Craig Borowiak, , Stephen Healy,, Marianna Pavlovskaya
Published: January 2018

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.

Gibson-Graham, J.K., Cameron, Jenny Healy, Stephen
Published: January 2018

In this paper we use the concept of surviving well to reframe happiness.

Kelly Dombroski, Stephen Healy, Katharine McKinnon
Published: January 2018

In this era of human-induced environmental crisis, it is widely recognized that we need to foster better ways to sustain life for people and planet. For us – and other scholars drawing on the Community Economies tradition – better worlds begin in recognising the diverse and interconnected ways human communities secure our livelihoods. Community Economies scholarship is a body of theory that evolved from the writings of geographers J.K. Gibson-Graham, which, for more than thirty years, has inspired others (including the three of us) to rethink economy as a space of political possibility.

Johanisova, Nadia, Eva Fraňková
Published: November 2017
Isaac Lyne
Published: May 2017

Social enterprise (or business driven by social objectives) is a prominent focus of development. In higher income countries it is a strategy for regional development or regeneration by creating optimal levels of social value from under-utilised resources. In developing countries, social enterprise offers hope for sustainable development by reducing dependency on aid and by developing markets and improving economic growth. Social enterprise is widely linked to ‘business at the bottom of the pyramid’, there is particular attention to heroic 'social entrepreneurs'. But critical literature shows a tension between the top-down ‘development’ driven view of social enterprise and a bottom-upwards grassroots community development approach driven by wellbeing.

Anna Kruzynski
Published: January 2017

Des mouvements sociaux partout sur la planète se révoltent contre la démocratie libérale et le capitalisme tout en expérimentant des manières d’être, de penser et de faire basées sur l’autonomie, le respect de la diversité et l’aide mutuelle. Dans cet article, les pratiques politiques, culturelles et économiques du Centre social autogéré de Pointe-Saint-Charles déployées durant la lutte pour l’appropriation collective du Bâtiment 7 sont examinées à l’aune du concept d’autonomie collective. En rendant visibles ces pratiques subversives, l’analyse permet de saisir la portée révolutionnaire de cette initiative libertaire située en marge de l’économie sociale au Québec.

Anna Kruzynski
Published: January 2017

Ce texte est un exercice de réflexion. Plutôt que de travailler avec des étiquettes idéologiques, j’ai envie de faire de la gymnastique mentale avec des concepts et des pratiques qui m’inspirent. Pour en arriver à proposer une méthode d’organisation qui soit porteuse d’espoir (un autre vivre ensemble est possible) tout en étant ancrée dans un pragmatisme mobilisateur. Je commencerai par expliciter mon point de vue sur l’exploitation et l’oppression des humains et de la nature. Puis, je reviendrai sur les idées mises de l’avant par Murray Bookchin et sur l’application de ses concepts d’écologie sociale et de municipalisme libertaire par le collectif anarchiste la Pointe libertaire. Ensuite j’aborderai les propositions de J. K.

Redrawing the Economy Workshop
Katherine Gibson, Stephen Healy, Jenny Cameron
Published: September 2017

This is the summary report on Phase 1 of the Redrawing the Economy project. The report was prepared for the for the Scholar-Activist Project Award from the Antipode Foundation.

Following this phase of the project, the Redrawing the Economy website was produced by Kathrin Böhm. More information about the project is also available by clicking here.

Colombia Workshop
Stephen Healy
Published: September 2017

This report details the workshops conducted in Colombia as part of the Redrawing the Economy project. The workshops were conducted by one of the authors of Take Back the Economy, the translators of the Spanish version of Take Back the Economy, artists, and members of community economy initiatives from across Colombia.

Workshops were also conducted in Finland and South Korea, and there is a summary report for the Scholar-Activist Project Award from the Antipode Foundation.

Finland Workshop
Jenny Cameron
Published: September 2017

This report details the workshops conducted in Finland as part of the Redrawing the Economy project.

South Korea Workshop
Katherine Gibson and Binna Choi
Published: September 2017

This report details the workshops conducted in South Korea as part of the Redrawing the Economy project. The workshops were conducted by one of the authors of Take Back the Economy, the translators of the Korean version of Take Back the Economy, artists, and members of community economy initiatives from across South Korea.

Workshops were also conducted in Colombia and Finland, and there is a summary report for the Scholar-Activist Project Award from the Antipode Foundation.

Learn to Act
Kathrin Böhm, Doina Petrescu and Tom James (editors)
Published: September 2017

The book is titled Learn to Act, because that’s what we set out to do. The title is a clear proclamation towards a form of  learning which is both an act of commoning and a moment in which knowledge becomes relative, collective and applied. Learn to Act is about the near future, how to act, and how to support each other.



Front cover of the Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Development
Katherine Gibson, Ann Hill, Lisa Law
Published: November 2017

Researchers have long recognized practices of mutual aid, reciprocity and sharing as prevalent features of everyday community life in Southeast Asia. Such practices are often represented as persistent vestiges of pre-capitalist societies and variously categorized as aspects of 'informal economies,' 'patron-client' relations or 'social capital.' In debates about capitalist development these 'relict' practices are seen as standing in the way of modern economic growth, as something to be overcome or enrolled into the mechanics of transition to market capitalism - that is, they are harnessed into a narrative of either decline or transcendence.

Mclean, Heather
Published: December 2017

This intervention contributes to feminist and queer responses to Brenner and Schmid’s ‘planetary urbanization’ thesis. I discuss the generative potential of their attempts to craft alternative urban research pathways and their critique of urban age discourse, a body of work that defines cities as static sites of ‘innovation’, ‘creativity’, and ‘sustainability’. However, echoing critics of the planetary urbanization approach, I contend that Brenner and Schmid’s research schema risks reproducing exclusionary analytical hierarchies by promoting a totalizing, ‘god-trick-like’ standpoint and ignoring marginalized feminist, queer, and praxis-oriented urban studies approaches. As a result, planetary urbanization ignores situated and relational knowledges and lived experience.

Mclean, Heather and Kern, Leslie
Published: December 2017

There is a well established body of feminist scholarship critiquing the methodological and epistemological limits of an “objective” view from nowhere in urban research and political economy frameworks. Recent developments, such as the planetary urbanization thesis, have reignited feminist efforts to counter patriarchal, colonial, and hegemonic ways of knowing. Here, we recount our frustrations with the reproduction of dominant political economic modes of “knowing” urban processes such as gentrification and culture-led regeneration in research that seeks to uncover the production of neoliberal spaces and subjectivities.

Cover of Suuri energiamurros: Hyviä uutisia elinkelpoisista energiavaroista ilmastonmuutoksen aikakautena.
Lester R. Brown
Published: February 2017

Book translation of Lester R. Brown's The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy (W. W. Norton & Company, 2015), translated from English to Finnish by Eeva Talvikallio, published by Into Kustannus, 2017.



Molly Mullen
Published: January 2017

Some of the perennial tensions in applied theatre arise from the ways in which practice is funded or financed. They include the immediate material pressures and pragmatic dilemmas faced by theatre makers on the ground and the struggle to secure the resources needed to produce and sustain work or to negotiate the dynamics and demands of particular funding relationships. In the applied theatre literature, there are many examples of groups and organizations that have compromised their political, pedagogic, artistic or ethical principles to make their work economically viable. There are also ongoing debates about the nature of the relationship between applied theatre and the local, national and global economic conditions in which it is produced.

Naylor, Lindsay
Published: February 2017

Fair trade certification is a mechanism used by coffee cooperatives to assist farmers with accessing cash income and securing a better price for their product. Third-party certifiers regulate the fair trade label, which is tied not only to price, but also to standards for production and development. In this paper I examine these standards as they are deployed in self-declared autonomous communities in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. I argue that third-party certifiers through enforcement of standards, and surveillance attempt to create a producer subject who becomes “fixed” through certification.

Amanda Huron
Published: January 2017

A review essay of three books that take up the urban commons: Dellenbaugh, Kip, Bieniok et al. (eds.), 2015, Urban Commons: Moving Beyond State and Market; Borch and Kornberger (eds.), 2015, Urban Commons: Rethinking the City; and Ferguson (ed.), 2014 Make_Shift City: Renegotiating the Urban Commons.  

Learning Under Neoliberalism Book Cover
Susan Brinn Hyatt, Boone W. Shear, Susan Wright
Published: May 2017

As part of the neoliberal trends toward public-private partnerships, universities all over the world have forged more intimate relationships with corporate interests and more closely resemble for-profit corporations in both structure and practice.  These transformations, accompanied by new forms of governance, produce new subject-positions among faculty and students and enable new approaches to teaching, curricula, research, and everyday practices. The contributors to this volume use ethnographic methods to investigate the multi-faceted impacts of neoliberal restructuring, while reporting on their own pedagogical responses, at universities in the United States, Europe, and New Zealand.

Boone W. Shear
Published: January 2017

In this essay, I envision the university, not simply as a discreet institution with formal boundaries to attend to and defend from neoliberal and conservative assaults, but as a location of possibility from which to locate and advance projects that connect students and others to the possibility of other economic worlds.

Alison Mathie, Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson
Published: January 2017

Asset Based Community Development or Asset-Based and Citizen-Led Development (ABCD) is being used in a range of development contexts. Some researchers have been quick to dismiss ABCD as part of the neoliberal project and an approach that perpetuates unequal power relations. This paper uses a diffracted power analysis to explore the possibilities associated with ABCD as well as the challenges. It focuses on the application of ABCD in the Philippines, Ethiopia and South Africa, and finds that ABCD can reverse internalized powerlessness, strengthen opportunities for collective endeavors and help to build local capacity for action.

Azusa Yamashita, Christopher Gomez, Kelly Dombroski
Published: April 2017

In this paper, Azusa Yamashita leads us in reflecting on the experiences of LGBT people following the Japanese tsunami and earthquakes of 2011, based on her work setting up a LGBT hotline with Iwate Rainbow Network.

J.K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron, Kelly Dombroski, Stephen Healy, Ethan Miller, Community Economies Collective
Published: February 2017

This paper was commissioned by the Next System Project (co-chaired by Gar Alperovitz and by Gus Speth). The paper details community economies thinking, and covers the following topics:

  • key commitments of community economies thinking
  • understandings of transformation
  • community + economy
  • strategies for cultivating community economies (namely, applying the language of diverse economies and broadening the horizon of economic politics)

The paper includes examples of community economies from across the globe (including those that are 'local' an place-based (such as Hepburn Wind) to those that are 'global' (such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer).