Community Economies

Stephen Healy

Contact Details:

Stephen Healy
Physical and Earth Sciences Department
Worcester State College
486 Chandler St
Worcester MA 01602


PhD University of Massachusetts, Amherst

MS University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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Research Areas:

community economies, marxian theory, subjectivity, psychoanalytic theory

What is at stake is the creation of values, not simply the act of adhering to already existing values. … All great sublimations (art, sciences, religion) create new values, transform things into values. (Zupancic 2003, 73)

Historically my work has explored the relationship between subjectivity and economy through the lens of Marxian and psychoanalytic theory. The areas in which this research interest takes shape has varied over time: health care reform in the United States, the work of informal care givers, cooperative development for marginalized populations, efforts to integrate environmental concerns into teaching and the process of regional development.

I understand our common project to be one of developing and learning to speak a new language of economy. The practice of speaking this language is learning to revalue every day care, ordinary places and labors and to find in them both meaning and potential. Our aim is to give voice to an economy of values capable of holding and expressing our commitments to others.


Beyond the Business Case: A Community Economies Approach to Gender, Development And Social Economy

Stephen Healy

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).

Psychoanalysis and the Geography of the Anthropocene: Fantasy, Oil Addiction, and the Politics of Global Warming

Stephen Healy

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 Psychoanalytic Geograpahies (London: Ashgate Press). 

Warm Bodies: Zom-Rom Solidarity Econ

Boone Shear, Stephen Healy

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.

Shear, B. and S. Healy 2012. “The Progressive Struggle to Save Capitalism'

Boone Shear, Stephen Healy

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

Occupy Wall Street: A Gift for the Economy

Boone Shear, Stephen Healy

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.

Cooperation, Surplus Appropriation, and the Law’s Enjoyment

Stephen Healy

This paper explores the performative effects of law legal incoporation in the context of worker cooperatives internally governed through consensus, concluding that this representational disjuncture has particular effects on cooperative subjectivity.

Healy, S., 2011.  “Cooperation, Surplus Appropriation, and the Law’s Enjoyment,” Rethinking Marxism 23(3): 364-370.

Traversing Fantasies, Activating Desires: Economic Geography, Activist Research and Psychoanalytic Methodology

Stephen Healy

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.

Alternative Economies

Stephen Healy

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).

Caring for Ethics and the Politics of Health Care Reform

Stephen Healy

Informal caregiving frequently exacts a heavy psychic and physical toll on subjects that perform it while simultaneously figuring as a source of deep ethical meaning, raising questions about how to account for both dimensions in a politics of health care reform.

Healy, S. 2008. “Caring for Ethics and the Politics of Health Care Reform,” Gender, Place and Culture, 15(3): 267-284.

Building Community Economies: A Postcapitalist Project of Sustainable Development

Julie Graham, Stephen Healy

Explores how the idea of sustainable development might be transformed from an impossible dream (sabotaged at every turn by the force various identified as "capitalism", "the market," "modernization," and "development") into a realistic and attainble project for organizations and communities.

Healy. S. and J. Graham. 2008. Building Community Economies: A Postcapitalist Project of Sustainable Development, in D. Ruccio, ed, Economic Representations: Academic and Everyday. Routledge, New York, 291-314.


Stephen Healy

The politics of health care reform in the US in the United States has focused for 100 years on the question of whether health care is a commodtiy or right:  beyond this political deadlock it is possible to reform care through attention to the conditions under which care is produced as a value and the ethical relation that transpires between care provider and patient.

Ph.D., Geography, University of Massachusetts, 2006 Dissertation: Care in the Community Economy: Toward an Alternative Development of Health Care. Supervisor: Julie Graham

Co-operative Subjects: Towards a Post-Fantasmatic Enjoyment of the Economy

Stephen Healy

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.

Constructing the community economy: civic professionalism and the politics of sustainable regions

Julie Graham, Stephen Healy, kenneth byrne

Outlines the Rethinking Economy action research project in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, highlighting the role of academy-community partnerships in constructing community economies.

 Graham, J., S. Healy and K. Byrne. 2002. Constructing the community economy: civic professionalism and the politics of sustainable regions, Journal of Appalachian Studies 8(1), 50-61.