This is a chapter on Community Economies for the Routledge Handbook of Global Development. The chapter discusses how a community economies approach to development focuses on seeking out and strengthening already existing post-capitalist worlds. This involves community economies scholars using action research methods to work with community-based partners to help make post-capitalist activities more visible, and then to devise ways and means to build on and strengthen these activities.
Much of the debate over sustainable development revolves around how to balance the competing demands of economic development, social well-being, and environmental protection. “Jobs vs. environment” is only one of the many forms that such struggles take. But what if the very terms of this debate are part of the problem? Reimagining Livelihoods argues that the “hegemonic trio” of economy, society, and environment not only fails to describe the actual world around us but poses a tremendous obstacle to enacting a truly sustainable future.
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.
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.