Rethinking the “Economy”
Is the economy ‘capitalist’?
What might it mean to think of economic identity in different ways?
The following papers present how a vision of a ‘diverse economy’ is inspiring new projects of economic becoming.
This commentary responds to papers by Jodi Dean and Stephen Healy in a special issue of Rethinking Marxism, proposing that one does not need to choose between being an anti-capitalist revolutionary attentive to the material power of capitalist colonization, or being a post-capitalist ethical subject, eschewing critique, and entirely disavowing capitalism and its forms of violence. Community economies theory can be significantly strengthened through increased engagement with two key domains of praxis that it has tended to avoid: militant cross-sector organizing and a non-totalizing critique of capital.
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.
Gibson-Graham, J.K. and Ethan Miller. "Economy as Ecological Livelihood" in Katherine Gibson, Deborah Bird Rose, and Ruth Fincher (Eds). Manifesto for the Living in the Anthropocene. Brooklyn, NY: Puncum Books. http://punctumbooks.com/titles/manifesto-for-living-in-the-anthropocene/
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.
Literature review of Urban Political Ecology. Focuses on the need for more work on environmental imaginary, governance, and the non-human.
Gabriel, N. 2014. "￼Urban Political Ecology: Environmental Imaginary, Governance, and the Non-Human". Geography Compass 8(1):38-48.
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. This paper proposes a concept of "ecological livelihoods" as one experimental step in this direction.
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.
Hill, A. 2014. Moving from “matters of fact” to “matters of concern” in order to grow economic food futures in the Anthropocene, Agriculture and Human Values. http://www.springer.com/-/5/e37581b51c3041d8833330d108787fb4
This paper draws on interviews with economic development professionals in Maine (USA) to pursue two tasks: first, to explore the potentials and limits of Çalsikan 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.
Miller, Ethan (Forthcoming). "Economization and Beyond: (Re)composing Livelihoods in Maine, USA." Environment and Planning A.
Boone Shear, Shear
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.
Shear, Boone. 2014. Making the Green Economy: Politics, Desire, and Economic Possibility. Journal of Political Ecology. 21: 193-209.
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.
Burke, Brian J. and Boone Shear. 2014. Introduction: Engaged Scholarship for Non-Capitalist Political Ecologies. In Burke B.J. and B.W. Shear (eds) 2014. Non-Capitalist Political Ecologies. Special Section of the Journal of Political Ecology. 21: 127-144.
In this short commentary, I engage with other economic geographers reflecting on whether there is an 'Antipodean' Economic Geography. I argue that this is less a matter of fact and more of a point of gathering: by naming and gathering something called an Antipodean Economic Geography, what possibilities do we enable and disable for new kinds of economies and geographies?
Rethinking the Creative Economy: Utilizing Participatory Action Research to Develop the Community Economy of Artists and Artisans
The Rethinking the Creative Economy Project utilzed the Community Economies model and a participatory action research methodology to explore non-capitalist practices of artists and artisans in Franklin County, Massachusetts. This article begins a conversation about how to explore economic development of the creative economy in ways that strengthen artists and artisans in a postcapitalist framework.
Hwang, L. 2013. Rethinking the creative economy: utilizing participatory action research to develop the community economy of artists and artisans, Rethinking Marxism. 25(4), 501-517.
This introduction shows how J. K. Gibson-Graham's work continues to inspire current scholarship in the Marxian tradition. It provides an overview of articles published in Rethinking Marxism as Part I of a two-part symposium. Erdem, E. "Introduction: Postcapitalist Encounters with Class and Community". Rethinking Marxism 25(4), 464-468.
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.
Miller, Ethan. 2013. "Surplus of Surplus: From Accounting Convention to Ethical Coordinates." Paper presented at the Rethinking Marxism Gala, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 21 September 2013.
This articles engages with the notion of the city as capitalist space, focusing on the specific actors that come together to realign economically heterogeneous spaces into the monolithic, capitalist city.
Gabriel, N. 2013. "Mapping urban space The production, division and reconfiguration of natures and economies". City 17(3): 325–342, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13604813.2013.798478
This chapter, drawn from previous writings by J.K. Gibson-Graham, is part of a collaboration with artist Sarah Browne for the IrelandVenice 2009 exposition. 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).
In this paper co-authored with Suzanne Bergeron, 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 develoment process.
Forthcoming in an edited volume published by the United Nations Research in Social Development. (UNRISD).
This article examines the economy of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and traces its connections to both historic and contemporary factory and farm occupations.
Safri, Maliha. 2012. The Economics of Occupation. The Economist's Voice. 9(3).
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.
Morrow, Oona. 2011. Diverse Economies and Dwelling. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, 2011
The goal of this article is to introduce a new category into international political economy-the global household-and to begin to widen the focus of international political economy to include nonmarket transactions and noncapitalist production. We estimate the aggregate population of global households, the size and distribution of remittances, and the magnitude and sectoral scope of global household production. We briefly explore the possibilities for research and activism opened up by a feminist, postcapitalist international political economy centered on the global household.
Safri, Maliha and Julie Graham. 2011. The Global Household: Toward a Feminist Postcapitalist International Political Economy. Signs 36(1) 99-125.o
Phil Ireland and I collaborated on this paper during his PhD studies while I was at Macquarie University. We sought to bring together his work on Climate Change Adaptation with my thinking on post-development. We argue that when it comes to efforts to support Climate Change Adaptation in the majority world, it is important to challenge technocratic approaches that dismiss the value of local innovations. Instead we draw inspiration from the work of J.K. Gibson-Graham and their injunction to ‘refuse to know too much’.
Ireland, P. and McKinnon, K. (2013) ‘Strategic localism for an uncertain world: A postdevelopment approach to climate change adaptation’ Geoforum 47: 158-166
Written as a response to a series of commentaries on ‘Antipodean Economic Geography’ this piece draws on my fieldwork experience to question whether it is useful to invoke the ‘otherness’ of the Antipodes. I call for a habituation of the practice of ‘looking for difference’ as a way of cutting across the Antipodean-Metropole binary invoked in the discussion.
McKinnon, K. (2013) ‘A different kind of difference: Knowledge, politics and being Antipodean’ Dialogues in Human Geography 3(2) 213-216
A review of the film Warm Bodies (2013), a dark-comedy featuring zombies and romance. We read Warm Bodies as inhabiting today's growing social imaginary and belief that even amidst growing inequalities, austerity and unfolding ecological challenges, another world is truly possible.
This essay explores the discursive production of numerous, well-meaning efforts to respond to social and economic restructuring in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Drawing upon the work of Slavoj Žižek, we suggest that the focus on what is perceived to be reasonable, or realistic, is maintained by and helps to maintain, the normal workings of capitalist exploitation which appear as inevitable, natural, or altogether invisible.
Shear, Boone W. and Lyon-Callo Vin. 2013. Kalamazoo’s Promise: Exploring the Violence of Economic Development. City and Society. 25 (1): 70-91
The article discusses the theoretical openings accorded by the recognition of economic difference and contingency within the Marxist tradition, exploring their potential contributions towards imagining and enacting a postcapitalist politics of economic transformation and experimentation.
Gibson-Graham, J.K., E. Erdem, C. Özselçuk (2013). "Thinking with Marx For a Feminist Postcapitalist Politics", R. Jaeggi and D. Loick (Eds.) Marx' Kritik der Gesellschaft. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.
This paper explores and elaborates on J.K. Gibson-Graham's concept of "community economy," refracting it into three interrelated dimensions of ontology, ethics and politics, and placing them in conversation with one another via comparative explorations of both “community economy” and “solidarity economy” as contemporary articulations for radically-democratic economic organizing.
Miller, Ethan (2013). "Community Economy: Ontology, Ethics and Politics for Radically-Democratic Economic Organizing," Rethinking Marxism, 25(4).
This short essay considers the limitations of critical anthropological theory and in particular critiques of capitalism. We suggest that anthropology’s emancipatory potential can be found in an approach that embraces anthropology’s ‘moral optimism’ and merges critique with a politics of possibility.
Shear, Boone and Burke, Brian. 2013. Beyond Critique: Anthropology of and for Non-Capitalism. Anthropology News. http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2013/01/10/beyond-critique/
This is a short review of Renata Salecl's The Tyranny of Choice. Salecl shows us that our actions are not driven entirely by the rational mind but are influenced by unconscious desires that are themselves produced by a relationship to the symbolic order. One implication is that we can’t simply will ourselves a new world. Stepping out of the political and ethical morass of fighting over which form of capitalism is better or more humane might require more than rational discussions about the vagaries of capitalism, speaking truth to power, or making rational demands on the state.
Shear, Boone W. 2012. Review of Renata Salecl's The Tyranny of Choice. Society and Space-Environment and Planing D. July. http://societyandspace.com/reviews/reviews-archive/salecl-renata-2011-tyranny-of-choice-reviewed-by-boone-shear-posted-14-july-2012/
In this editorial we review Joseph Stiglitz’s Price of Inequality. While we admire his analysis of the problems caused by economic inequality we question whether or not the argument for progressive, “regulated” capitalism is the best thing we can hope for and work towards.
Shear, B. and S. Healy 2012. “The Progressive Struggle to Save Capitalism´ Truthout September 28, 2012
Competing with the cartography of capitalism, undermining its power to fix resources as open to capitalist appropriation and space as enclosed, will require a cartography of the commons that makes visible community and commons processes; it will require a shift in strategy from explicating and defending existing commons to mapping spaces into which a commons future might be projected. The “Buffalo Commons” and a map-based project in New England fisheries link new spatial imaginaries with desires for and enactments of alternative economic initiatives. Each project rereads economic and environmental processes relative to the potential of the commons rather than the potential of capitalism.
St. Martin, K. 2009. “Toward a Cartography of the Commons: Constituting the Political and Economic Possibilities of Place” Professional Geographer 61(4): 493-507.
The Difference that Class Makes: Neoliberalization and Non-Capitalism in the Fishing Industry of New England
Fishing economies are typically represented as pre-capitalist and as a barrier to capital accumulation rather than as an alternative economy with its own potentials. Privatization (and capitalism) appears logical and inevitable because “there is no alternative” described or given. The class analysis presented here focuses on questions of property and subjectivity and describes fishing as a non-capitalist and community-based economy consonant with both a tradition of common property and an image of “fishermen” as independent and interested in fairness and equity. While the latter is associated with a neoliberal subject aligned with the capitalist economy, a class analysis of fishing repositions “fishermen” as community subjects aligned with a community economy.
St. Martin, K. 2007.“The Difference that Class Makes: Neoliberalization and Non-Capitalism in the Fishing Industry of New England” Antipode 39(3): 527-549.
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.
Gibson-Graham, J.K. (2009) Socially Creative Thinking: or how experimental thinking creates ‘other worlds’.
Also presented at the Katarsis conference, 2008.
Amidst widespread concern about “the economy”, this paper explores how academic researchers can contribute to the work underway to create environmentally orientated and socially just economies. We offer the diverse economies framework as a technique with which to cultivate ethical economies.
Gibson-Graham, J.K. and Roelvink, G. 2010, The Nitty Gritty of Creating Alternative Economies, Social Alternatives, Volume 30, Number 1, 2011, pp. 29-33.
At the core of J.K. Gibson-Graham’s feminist political imaginary is the vision of a decentralized movement that connects globally dispersed subjects and places through webs of signification. We view these subjects and places both as sites of becoming and as opportunities for belonging. But no longer can we see subjects as simply human and places as human-centered. The ‘arrival’ of the Anthropocene has thrown us onto new terrain.
Gibson-Graham, J.K. 2010, A feminist project of belonging for the Anthropocene, Gender, Place and Culture - A Journal of Feminist Geography, Volume 18, Number 1, February 2011 , pp. 1-21(21).
Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group
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.”
J.K. Gibson-Graham (2010) 'Post-Development Possibilities for Local and Regional Developmen'. in Pike, A., Rodriguez-Pose, A., Tomaney, J., (eds) Handbook of Local and Regional Development, London: Routledge.
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!).
Miller, Ethan. 2011. "Occupy! Connect! Create! Imagining Life Beyond "The Economy," in Amber Hickey (Ed.) A Guidebook of Alternative Nows. Los Angeles: Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Press.
Written in the early weeks of the Occupy movement, this short essay understands Occupy as reflecting and releasing dormant and suppressed economic values from which to imagine and practice a new world.
Shear, Boone and Healy, Stephen. 2011. Occupy Wall Street: A Gift for the Economy. Truthout. http://truth-out.org/news/item/4369:occupy-wall-street-a-gift-for-the-economy
Rethinking Economy for Regional Development: Ontology, Performativity and Enabling Frameworks for Participatory Vision and Action
This thesis involves three interrelated projects: first, a critique of conventional regional development literature; second, an exploration of the "performativity" of (economic) discourse at both conceptual and material levels; and third, a survey of alternative economic ontologies that might help us to imagine more diverse, ecological, equitable and democratic livelihoods.
Miller, Ethan. 2011. Rethinking Economy for Regional Development: Ontology, Performativity and Enabling Frameworks for Participatory Vision and Action. MS Thesis. Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst MA, USA.
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.
McKinnon, K. (2010) “Mapping absence, generating the present”, in Fuller, D., Jonas A.E.G., and Lee, R. (eds) Alternative spaces of economy, society and politics: Interrogating alterity, Ashgate Press: 259-272
Traversing Fantasies, Activating Desires: Economic Geography, Activist Research and Psychoanalytic Methodology
This article reviews the growing body of literature produced by geographers who make use of psychoanalytic theory in the course of their research, before considering how Left Lacanian theory was deployed in diverse economies research.
Healy, S., 2010. “Traversing Fantasies, Activating Desires: Economic Geography, Activist Research and Psychoanalytic Methodology,” Professional Geographer, 62(4): 496-506.
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.
Healy, S.,2009. “Alternative Economies.” In Thrift, N. and Kitchin, R.,(eds) The International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (Oxford: Elsevier).
Gibson-Graham, JK. 2008. Diverse economies: performative practices for 'other worlds', Progress in Human Geography 32(5), 613-632.
A book review about J.K. Gibson-Graham's A Post-Capitalist Politics in Critical Sociology.
Werner, Karen. 2007. Book Review of A Post-Capitalist Politics by J.K. Gibson-Graham. Critical Sociology. (33), 357–358.
This review artilce asks, how is it that Elyachar’s book, Markets of Dispossession, is able to contribute both to critical Marxist research documenting and analysing neoliberalism and also to a post-structural performative approach to market networks?
Roelvink, G. 2007. Review article: performing the market, Social Identities 13(1), 125-133.
This paper cowritten with Ken Byrne uses the psychoanalytic concept of fantasy to explore how people are attached to particular notions of economy, by way of contrast we explore how worker cooperators in Argentina's newly formed worker cooperatives experience their economic subjectivity.
Byrne, K. and S. Healy, 2006. “Co-operative Subjects: Towards a Post-Fantasmatic Enjoyment of the Economy,” Rethinking Marxism 18(2): 241-258.
Situates contemporary evaluations of the Îsuccessâ of Spainâs Mondragon cooperative complex within a tradition of debate about the politics of economic transformation and argues for the development of an economics of surplus that can guide ethical decisions in community economies.
Gibson-Graham, J.K. 2003. Enabling Ethical Economies: Cooperativism and Class, Critical Sociology 29(2), 123-161.
Principles and practices for cultivating a local ethics of economic transformation.
Gibson-Graham, J.K. 2003. An Ethics of the Local, Rethinking Marxism 15(1), 49-74.
Exploring how recent feminist thinkers are attempting to add women into the economy.
Cameron J. and J. K. Gibson-Graham. 2003. Feminising the Economy: metaphors, strategies, politics, Gender, Place & Culture 10(2), 145-157.
Offers a counter to the common denigration of local economic politics 'in the face of globalization'.
Gibson-Graham, J.K. 2002. Beyond global vs local: Economic politics outside the binary frame, in A. Herod and M. Wright (eds) Geographies of power: Placing scale, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, 25-60.
Negotiating restructuring: a study of regional communities experiencing rapid social and economic change
Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson, A Veno
How two communities in regional Victoria, Australia are beginning to rethink their relationship to processes of economic restructuring.
Rethinking the "Economy"
Researching Diverse Economies
Subjects of the Economy
Politics of Economy
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