Resilience has become a “buzzword” of our time. It is commonplace to hear individuals, communities, organisations, and systems described as resilient. Resilience has also become a buzzword In development discourse and practice. World Bank programmes for instance, refer to ‘resilient cities’, ‘resilient institutions’ and climate risk management ‘resilience strategies’. As noted by developer thinker Andrea Cornwall (2007), buzzwords tend to garner general abstract consensus around the importance of certain concepts but they equally can be vague and ‘fuzzy’, providing little sense of what a concept actually ‘looks like’ or how it translates in practice and in specific contexts. Here, we provide some clarity around the concept of resilience and how it is used in development today. We provide contextual examples drawing on development practice in Chile and Cambodia.
It is common in contemporary development practice and discourse for resilience to be framed within scientific understandings of how ecological systems work. An alternative framing and the position we take as authors, combines science and social science perspectives and defines resilience as an ability of humans and nonhumans to ‘survive well’ in the face of change and crisis (Gibson-Graham, Hill and Law, 2016). Within this frame, disturbances can be understood as a range of human and nonhuman processes including recovering from severe illness, emotional, and or socio-cultural trauma, navigating a significant economic shock, or surviving an extreme weather event. If resilience is understood as the ability to survive well, then development can thus be thought about as the active work of creating and maintaining the conditions of possibility for surviving well. This includes economic and livelihood conditions, and sociocultural and ecological ones.
| Asset-Based Community Development in Diverse Cultural Contexts: Learning from Mindanao, the Philippines
This chapter is about asset-based community development (ABCD) in Mindanao. Specifically, it is about a locally adapted ABCD approach that has emerged from development practitioners adapting and translating ABCD concepts and methods to make them more culturally relevant. The chapter examines how the use of language and communication tools, in conjunction with an emphasis on local empowerment, contribute to enabling a more culturally relevant form of ABCD. The chapter opens up a space of conversation between linguists, development scholars, ABCD practitioners, and a larger research community. It invites wider application of learnings from Mindanao, and furthers thinking on the application of linguistics in development theory and practice.
|Reflections on Reconfiguring Methods During COVID-19: Lessons in Trust, Partnership, and Care
This paper is a set of reflections from researchers in the Center for Sustainable Communities, University of Canberra, drawing out emerging lessons from the process of re-configuring research methods during COVID-19. The pandemic has presented new spaces of negotiation, struggle, and interdependence within research projects and research teams. It has left researchers often uncertain about how to do their work effectively. At the same time, it has opened up opportunities to re-think how researchers undertake the work of research. In this paper we reflect on several current research programs that have had to undergo rapid design shifts to adjust to new conditions under COVID-19. The rapid shift has afforded some surprisingly positive outcomes and raised important questions for the future. In our reflections we look at the impact of COVID-19 at different stages of designing research with partners, establishing new relationships with partners and distant field sites, and data collection and analysis. We draw on Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodological ideas and highlight ways in which we have adapted and experimented with PAR methods during the pandemic. We reflect on the aspects of PAR that have assisted us to continue in our work, in particular, how PAR foregrounds diverse ways of knowing, being and doing, and prioritizes local aspirations, concerns and world views to drive the research agenda and the processes of social or economic change that accompany it. PAR also helps us to reflect on methods for building relationships of mutual trust, having genuine and authentic collaborations, and open conversations. We reflect on the potential lessons for PAR and community engaged research more generally. Amidst the challenges, our experience reveals new pathways for research practice to rebalance power relationships and support local place-conscious capacity for action.
|Living with flux in the Philippines: Negotiating collective well-being and disaster recovery
This paper presents three stories of communities in the Philippines. Each story reveals how local people and environments, in their own unique way, negotiate collective well-being in the face of climate uncertainty.
|Making Vegetables Visible: Insights from Mindanao
Increasing small-scale vegetable production is a key target for growing a more sustainable food system. At first glance, meeting this target seems straightforward. On closer inspection, particularly in contexts experiencing the on-going effects of climate uncertainty and economic uncertainty, it can be hard to achieve. Community education has a vital role to play.
This monograph outlines community education best practice principles for promoting and supporting small- scale vegetable production, marketing and consumption, based on a study conducted in Mindanao, The Philippines. It generates local insights for wider application. The monograph assembles a toolbox of replicable, and adaptable ideas and methods. The toolbox is of value to end users around the world seeking to grow more sustainable food systems.
|A Community Economies perspective for ethical community development
Community Economy theory has gained much traction over the past two decades as a language politics and an ethical tool kit for researchers and practitioners in the field of community development. This chapter examines Community Economy approaches to development using two empirical examples from quite different contexts that highlight key ethical concerns. In the two empirical examples we show how communities can move towards surviving well collectively by mapping their existing diverse economic practices and relationships, and how people can shift from focusing on their individual survival to collective survival. We use the Community Economy approach to suggest that ethical questions are best negotiated through relationships and in specific contexts, rather than adopting an individualist or universal prescription of what ethics is, or should be in any given context.
|Community economies in Monsoon Asia: Keywords and key reflections
The paper has been collaboratively written with co‐researchers across Southeast Asia and represents an experimental mode of scholarship that aims to advance a post‐development agenda.This paper introduces the project of documenting keywords of place‐based community economies in Monsoon Asia. It extends Raymond William’s cultural analysis of keywords into a non‐western context and situates this discursive approach within a material semiotic framing. For Open Access, click here.
|Community economies in Southeast Asia: a hidden economic geography
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. However, such a framing obscures the valuable role mutual aid, reciprocity and sharing may have played in shaping responses to social, economic, political and environmental threats over the long duree. It is clear that these practices contribute to local social safety nets and act to support households in the event of misfortune or calamity, even today (Ong and Curato 2015). While they may be ill fitted to capitalist development trajectories, they are well suited as survival strategies and may potentially contribute to development trajectories more suited to life in the Anthropocene, the age we have entered in which human systems have become a geological force capable of destabilizing earth systems (Steffen et al. 2015). This chapter outlines an intellectual framing that situates mutual aid, reciprocity, sharing and other 'community economic practices' within a diverse economy in which the trajectory of change is not dominated by the capitalist development narrative but is up for negotiation.
|Re-embedding Economies in Ecologies: Resilience Building in More than Human Communities
The modern hyper-separation of economy from ecology has severed many of the ties that people have with environments and species that sustain life. In this paper we argue that a first step towards strengthening resilience at a human scale involves appreciating the longstanding social and ecological relationships that have supported life over the millennia. Our capacity to appreciate these relationships has, however, been diminished by economic science which encloses ecological space within more and more delimited confines. Our task is thus to cultivate new sensibilities that will enable us to enact resilience in both our thinking and practice. The theoretical argument of this paper will be illustrated drawing on examples from a research project on strengthening economic resilience in Monsoon Asia. We explore how people and environments have co-produced ways of living with severe climatic disturbance. While longstanding infrastructural assemblages have been devalued or destroyed by modernization, key elements of these assemblages are now the subject of much interest. Bamboo, a building material central to survival in Monsoon Asia, has been dismissed as a viable element of modern Asia’s built environment. But this is changing as the properties of bamboo are re-evaluated. When humans are resituated within the vegetative assemblages that have supported life in Asia over the long durée we can begin to explore the ethical practices of bamboo and the ecological actions of humans that might co-produce more resilient and liveable futures.
|Growing Community Food Economies in the Philippines, excerpt 2
Introduction to a PhD thesis project about collective ethical economic action for a climate and resource changing world. It includes diverse economy food stories from the Philippines and from my home in the NSW Southern Tablelands of Australia, as well as a thesis outline.
|Growing Community Food Economies in the Philippines, excerpt 1
'Growing Community Food Economies in the Philippines' is a PhD thesis about collective ethical economic action. It draws on empirical cases of regional food projects in Manila and Mindanao and examines possible post-capitalist economic growth trajectories in the Philippines context. This project also examines collective methods. Drawing on actor network theory and hybrid collective thinking it empirically demonstrates 'hybrid collective world making', foregrounding the role various human and nonhuman actors (e.g. typhoons, river systems and digital media) play in shaping food and economic futures.
Excerpt 1 is a thesis chapter about community economies thinking and practice and growing community food economies in the Philippines through hybrid collective methods.
|Moving from 'Matters of Fact’ to 'Matters of Concern" in Order to Grow Economic Food Futures in the Anthropocene
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.
|Cultivating Hybrid Collectives: Research Methods for Enacting Community Food Economies in Australia and the Philippines
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.
|Food's Cultural Geographies: Texture, Creativity, and Publics
This chapter is about emerging cultural geographies of food. It is the result of a collaborative blog‐to‐paper process that led to an experimental, fragmented, dialogic text. Food is often researched precisely because it can help to vividly animate tensions between the small and intimate realms of embodiment, domesticity, and “ordinary affect” and the more sweeping terrain of global political economy, sustainability, and the vitality of “nature”. Food's cultural geographies, like cultural geography more broadly, can be “best characterised by powerful senses of texture, creativity and public engagement”. The explosion of academic interest in food geographies is a mirror to the explosion of public interest in, and public discourse about, all kinds of food matters.
|A Helping Hand and Many Green Thumbs
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.
|From Calamity to Community Enterprise
This paper highlights social enterprise development as a post-disaster livelihood re-building strategy that has the potential to build resilience and foster disaster preparedness in local communities.
|Opportunities for Ondoy: From Calamity to Community Enterprise
Work in progress paper about social enterprise clustering as a local economic development and livelihood (re)building strategy in Manila in the Philippines.
|Cultivating Citizen-Subjects Through Collective praxis: Organised Gardening Projects in Australia and the Philippines
In this chapter we discuss empirical evidence of communal gardening projects through a 'realist governmentality' approach.
|Diverse Economies in Place: A Study of Economic Subjects and Practices in the Wingecarribee Shire of New South Wales
This thesis empirically grounds the diverse economies framework and is an early contribution to post-capitalist thought. Specifically the thesis maps the diverse economic practices of various subjects in the Wingecarribee Shire, a local government area on the rural urban fringe of Sydney, Australia. It challenges a capitalocentric view of the economy instead presenting a diverse regional economic landscape with implications for local government planning.