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.
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.
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.
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.
As a graduate student I first came into contact with the work and persons of JK Gibson-Graham. As I was mentored and supervised by Katherine Gibson, the piece, Building Community Economies: Women and the Politics of Place became part of my journey into feminism and feminist postdevelopment research. In this chapter, I highlight three principles I have carried with me from that time until now: starting where you are, seeing diversity, and multiplying possibility. With reference to my own developing research interests, I show how Gibson-Graham's work is relevant and inspiring in a third wave feminist context.
This chapter focuses on urban-based enterprises that are building direct links with rural producers and taking seriously the idea that urban consumers have a role to play in stewarding our agricultural environments and securing livelihoods for farmers. When these sorts of concerns are placed at the heart of the enterprise we find that economic innovations follow, and that along with producing benefits for farmers these innovations are also impacting employees and consumers. This results in businesses that are very different from the mainstream model of enterprise--the capitalist firm in which profit-maximization is at the heart.
This chapter reflects on the role that an experimental social research approach might play in coming to terms with a future in which the certainties of the past have gone and the future lies before us unknown. This experimental approach means setting aside the idea of research as a neutral and objective activity in which there is critical distance between the researcher and the object of study. Instead, research would entail making a stand for certain worlds and for certain ways of living on the planet, and taking responsibility for helping to make these worlds more likely and these ways of living more widespread.
In this chapter, Jenny Cameron and Robert Pekin (from Food Connect, an innovative Community Supported Agriculture initiative operating in South East Queensland, Australia) reflect on the diverse economic practices that can be used to support sustainable and ethical food economies.
In this book chapter, we consider what it would mean to see the sites and practices of 'life's work' as potential areas that spark change in economies and subjectivities.
Although communities are constantly undergoing processes of becoming the Powell River community on Canada’s Pacific coast is in a unique transitional moment when it comes to possibilities for post-industrial economic pathways. With the downsizing of its main industry and employer over the past 3 decades, community members are currently exploring a diverse range of economic possibilities that extend beyond strictly capitalist options. Reading for economic diversity can help us to identify and pursue existing and potential economic pathways that enhance wellbeing for human and nonhuman community members.
Building on the concept of econo-sociality (Gibson-Graham and Roelvink 2009), I propose the related concept of econo-ecology to explore and interpret diverse knowledges and practices of the environment using a range of case studies centered on interrelationships between humans, plants and fungi in the United States and Scotland.
This book chapter challenges the conventional separations between "economy" and "ecology," proposing instead a perspective of "ecological livelihoods" in which sustenance is understood as an always-collective process of ethical negotiation involving humans and myriad living others. Drawing on and modifying Gibson-Graham's previous work on "ethical coordinates," we suggest some glimmers of what an ethical economics in an acknowledged more-than-human world might look like.
Written with Robyn Dowling this chapter offers a discussion of theories of identity in human geography, and draws on recent research by each of the authors to elaborate new challenges to the way geographers think about identity. Includes consideration of the impacts of J.K. Gibson-Grahams thinking around subjectivity, collectivity, and social change to geographers engagements with identity across different fields.
This paper uses key concepts from psychoanalytic theory to explore the fantasies that structure social discourses around global warming and resource depletion as key features of the anthropocene. Forthcoming S. Pile and P. Kingsbury http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=4824&
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 radio wave appears to be fleeting. It cannot be seen or touched, apparently ungrounded, an ethereal presence detached from the earth. Yet radio in its smallest forms can be deeply connected to the land. The particular geography of microradio can be a powerful tool for fighting for the right to be in a certain place: the right to stay put over time, to create culture, to dwell. Here, I examine the case of one contemporary microradio station in its struggles against neighborhood displacement, and consider the possibilities for the future.
This chapter discusses the activities of Inpaeng, a farmers’ network in Northeastern Thailand committed to empower farming households through a mix of homegrown strengths and acquired know-how. Based on on-site findings as well as secondary data the chapter demonstrates innovative strategies to maintain economic, social, and environmental sustainability in the region.
This chapter, drawn from previous writings by J.K. Gibson-Graham, is part of a collaboration with artist Sarah Browne for the Ireland exhibition in the 2009 Venice Biennale. The piece provides an overview of some of the core thinking that emerged in the 10 years between the publication of The End of Capitalism (1996) and A Postcapitalist Politics (2006).
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!).
The chapters in this edited collection were envisioned as conversations between scholars and indigenous collaborators from around the world. My contribution was drawn from a round-table session with highland activists and community representatives who met in Chiang Mai in 2007 to discuss how to represent themselves as indigenous.
In this chapter I consider what identification is from a social geography perspective. Drawing on fiedwork with indigenous activists in Thailand I explore what identification is, what it means and how it works. Engaging with a range of social theorists such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Ernesto Laclau, Judith Butler and J.K. Gibson-Graham I discuss the processes through which we are identified in the systems of governance and power that prevail in the contemporary world and what these processes mean both for how we are subjected to the machinations of power in the world and how we may act within and upon them.
In this chapter we discuss empirical evidence of communal gardening projects through a 'realist governmentality' approach.
A post-development approach to world-making has arisen from a critique of the idea that development, especially economic development, is yoked to capitalist growth. This approach extends the long tradition of critique that has accompanied the hegemonic rise of a mainstream development project focused on the 'problem" of less developed regions of the world. As we see it, the challenge of post-development is not to give up on development, but to imagine and practice development differently. Thus post-development thinking does not attempt to represent the world as it is, but the world as it could be.
This chapter appeared in a volume that brought together work on alternative economic and political forms. My piece is in the section on “Alternative spaces of social enterprise and development" and considers how post-development thinking, such as that present in the work of geographers like J.K. Gibson-Graham or Lakshman Yapa, can support concrete efforts for real change in the world.
An overview of concepts and strategic organizing practices of the emerging solidarity economy movement.
This article reviews current literature within geography focused on alternative economies, a term that has contradictory effects in a discipline fixated on a realist imagining of the link between 'capitalism" and state through neoliberal governance.
In this chapter we stage a conversation between two innovative and longstanding projects, (1) the multiphase European-based research project on local social innovation that is represented in this book and (2) the Community Economies project which is engaged in rethinking economy through action research in Australia, the Philippines and the US.