Many designers today (including ourselves) are experimenting with how their practice can engage in meaningful ways with the complexity of pressing social and environmental issues. Being very much concerned with the politics and power relations that run through such issues, in this paper we will explore what points of orientation the framework of the ‘commons’ and that of ‘community economies’ – seen from an autonomist and feminist Marxist perspective – can offer when working on socially and politically engaged projects.
On January 29th, 2014, a community conference called Groundswell brought community members together in order to inspire creativity, ideas, and relationships that advance the wellbeing of our community. This report illuminates both the process of facilitating meaningful community engagement as well the outcomes of doing so. The report was written for the community in which the event took place, but the hope is that it also inspire similar efforts in other communities that are ready for a groundswell of their own.
The three familiar categories of "economy," "society," and "environment"--staples in discourses of sustainable development--constitute a hegemonic formation that widely and problematically shapes the landscape of imagination and contestation, rendering particular, historically-produced relations seemingly inevitable and closing down possibilities for more generative and ethical modes of relationship. At the same time, however, economy, society, and environment are categories in crisis, and the world they aspire to organize and discipline is already escaping their clutches. A key task of our era is to identify, amplify, and connect multiple 'lines of flight" (Deleuze and Guattari 1987) beyond these categories.
Paper on doctoral research in process.
Competitively selected paper presented at the inaugural Social Frontiers: The Next Edge of Social Innovation Research conference in London, November 2013.
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.
In this paper we explore how international development discourse has placed women at the center of a "smart economics" approach to economic development. While we are heartened by development discourse's new found interest in economies of care and social reproduction, we are troubled by the way that an essentialized conception of gender is attached to a economic growth as usual agenda. We explore the potential of theory of the community economy, with its emphasis on the moment of ethical decision, might serve to unsettle essentialist categories of gender while redirecting the aims of the development process.
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.
Work in progress paper about social enterprise clustering as a local economic development and livelihood (re)building strategy in Manila in the Philippines.
In Dirt!: The Film, Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan Nobel Peace Laureate and founder of the Green Belt Movement in Africa, tells the story of the tiny hummingbird who fights a huge bush fire drop by tiny drop of precious water. What can the little hummingbird tell us about ways of building a sustainable food future? This paper explores this question.
This paper takes a look at the practice of 'ba niao" or 'Elimination Communication', where even very small babies are held out to 'eliminate' their waste rather than using nappies! The cross-cultural awkward engagement between two different hygiene understandings sparks changes in the day-to-day domestic practices of a group of Australasian mothers who rethink their use of hygiene products and other 'stuff'.
This paper discusses a performative research project conducted with community gardeners in Newcastle Australia.
This paper uses the Diverse Economies Framework to explore initiatives that have been developed to build more sustainable and ethical food futures, and to identify policy and reseach activities that might help strengthen these initiatives.
This paper discusses the sorts of ethical economic decisions made by community enterprises, and how this contributes to regional social, environmental and economic well-being.
This paper reframes existing economic diversity as a community asset that can be built on for community and economic development. The paper outlines strategies for doing this, and draws on examples from the Philippines and Australia.
The KATARSIS research project responds to one of the most pressing questions of our times; how to live together? In EU countries this concern has focused on creating conditions for social cohesion, especially by researching the ways that processes of exclusion and inclusion operate. On the global stage the question of how to live together has gained increasing weight in recent times in the light of climate change, public health challenges and economic crisis. Hard-hitting questions about basic needs, consumption levels, capitalist surplus, and the environmental commons that have been suppressed in the language of cohesion and inclusion are beginning to surface.
This paper describes the limiting ways in which people in marginalised areas are portrayed in policy and research, and introduces a different way of representing marginalised groups and the more enabling economic and social policies that result.
This paper outlines a collaborative approach to working with local residents in marginalised communities to develop community and economic development projects. The paper draws from action research conducted in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, and Eagleby and Logan City, Queensland.
Script of a presentation about the contradictory politics of "community" and how this website might help to redefine mainstream understandings of both community and economy.