(...) Je vous raconte tout cela, car je sais que des camarades vivent des situations similaires à un moment donné dans leur vie. Plusieurs décident de passer à autre chose ou sont forcés de le faire pour cause de santé ou encore, de précarité. Il y en a d’autres qui se disent: «Bof, mes idées de jeunesse, c’était la folie, de l’utopie», et décident alors de s’impliquer dans les luttes électoralistes ou marxistes pour la prise de l’État. C’est dans ce tourbillon que je suis tombée sur J.K. Gibson-Graham...
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The article discusses the shifts in Italian anti-mafia activism from its origins in the nineteenth century to today. The claims, the modes of action and the actors involved have in factvariedconcurrently with the metamorphosis of the mafia, the Italian state and society. Previous waves of anti-mafia protestwere prevalently class-based and often followed the massacre of heroes who stood up to corruption. On the other hand today’s panorama is characterised by a growing number of civil society organisations thatare producing commercial products which contrast the mafia economy through thecreation of an alternative market. The analyses draw on existing literature and on myown qualitative data collected from May-September 2014.
The commons is increasingly invoked as a way to envision new worlds. One strand of commons research focuses at the local scale, on small groups in “traditional”, mostly rural societies; this research asks how commons are maintained over time. Another strand focuses on the commons at a global scale; this is political research that asks how commons can be reclaimed from a capitalist landscape. Here, I bridge these two approaches by theorizing the commons as reclaimed and maintained in the context of the city, through examining the experiences of limited-equity housing cooperatives in Washington, DC.
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. First, while I remain agnostic about the relevance of the party, I express concerns about Dean’s sharp delineation between what is political and what is merely lifestyle choice, postcapitalism being encompassed in the latter.
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.
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.
The limited-equity cooperatives that emerged in Washington, D.C. in the 1970s and '80s were a form of the commons: a resource that is governed collectively by its members, and is used not to extract profit for a few individuals, but to support the lives of a group. The commons are a dignified basis of survival for poor people who are largely cut out of capitalist markets, an alternative to both market- and state-oriented approaches to managing resources and sustaining life. In Washington, a housing commons arose when two historical factors came together in the 1970s: the return of Home Rule and a wave of gentrification and tenant organizing.
Community-produced spaces such as community gardens are attracting widespread scholarly interest for the potential of not only food production, but also for social, environmental, and educational benefits. Yet community gardens have also been scrutinized as sites of governmentality that produce neoliberal subjects. In this article, six case studies are analyzed as representative of three ways to organize and manage gardens—grassroots, externally-organized, and active nonprofit management. I use performativity theory to examine how definitions and enactments of community can be used to include, exclude, or bridge difference.
This editorial introduces the papers that form this special edition on Researching Diverse Food Initiatives. The papers had their genesis in a series of sessions held at the Institute of Australian Geographers annual conference in September 2009. The sessions sought to draw together research on existing alternatives to mainstream agriculture and to further understand the role of research and researchers in contributing to the movements they study. This editorial focuses on two themes arising from the papers: the plethora of diverse food initiatives from across the globs; and the role of research in helping to strengthen this diversity.
Research is increasingly recognised as a generative and performative practice that contributes to shaping the world we come to live in. Thus part of the research ‘process’ involves being explicit about the worlds we want our research to contribute to and reflecting on how the concepts we use might help or inhibit this agenda. This paper is based on our commitment to strengthening the contributions that grassroots renewable energy initiatives might make to a climate changing world. However, to detect the potential of these initiatives, familiar concepts of scale and markets have to be recast.
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.
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.
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.