This paper is a response to growing excitement about arts-engaged research in geography. More and more geographers are practicing participatory arts projects to co-investigate pressing issues with communities. However, there are a lack of reflexive discussions about the limits of this work within the confines of the neoliberal and colonial university pressuring researchers to produce 4-star work that makes an impact, or measurable change. Here I add criticality to our understanding of the pitfalls and potential of arts-based analyses. I reflect on interviews with women, queer, non-binary and trans artists who I met during my time as a post-doctoral researcher in Glasgow.
Dialogues for wellbeing in an ecological emergency: Wellbeing-led governance frameworks and transformative Indigenous tools
The Urban Wellbeing project team developed their ideas in this piece on wellbeing-led governance frameworks and transformative Indigenous tools. In this paper we position our research project in a wider global context.
This essay explores the potential of solidarity economy (SE) as theory, practice, and movement, to engender an ontological politics to create and sustain other worlds that can resolve the existential crises of ecological destruction and historic inequalities. We argue that such a politics is necessary to go beyond the world as it is and exceed the dictates of a dominant modernity—capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy -- that positions itself as the only singular reality -- or One World World (Law 2011). What is needed are alternatives to development in contrast to alternative developments.
In this piece based on Huong's PhD fieldwork, we think about what a diverse economies and more-than-human approach might offer our thinking on climate change adaptation in Vietnam. While a lot of climate change adaptation interventions have been remodelled modernist development projects reminiscent of the green revolution, we deliberately seek out some of the embodied and local strategies that farmers are using to pay attention and adapt to a changing climate.
An(other) world is already existing and present across place. Capitalist-style economic development occurs within and alongside multiple ways of knowing and creating ‘livable worlds.’ Moreover, as part of the multiple ontologies and epistemologies of what it means to live well together, people practice various forms of economic exchanges. In this paper, I examine how the performance of solidarity in the exchange of coffee assists with rethinking development and what it means to build dignified livelihoods and livable worlds. By decentering capitalism and considering multiple forms of economic exchange, such as those built through solidarity networks, I argue that not only is ‘another world possible,’ but that it is present and in the continuous and messy process of becoming.
In 2020, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disrupted life around the globe. In the United States, governors issued state of emergency orders and mandated shelter-in-place and social distancing measures. While these measures are important, they ignore the nuances of risk for vulnerable groups, such as older adults. Moreover, social distancing measures made more visible the reality that many patients in care homes often die in isolation. In this commentary, we argue that a rethinking of later-life care is necessary and to understand this need, that critical geographers should expand on how we evaluate care. Here we start from a space of radical care ethics to examine the emotional experience of place and the role it should play in how we think about later-life care.
Here we reflect on diverse economies scholarship following Gibson-Graham’s call to adopt performative practices for other worlds. Urging scholars to move from paranoia to possibility through weak theory methodology, their call provided momentum for work on economic difference that sustained critiques of capitalocentrism launched in 1996. In this clarion call to read for difference and possibility, a diverse economies framing facilitated a wholesale rejection of strong theory and paranoia. As a subdiscipline in the making, diverse economies scholars are challenged and critiqued as we seek to develop the framework and apply it to economic activities that exist within, alongside, and outside capitalism.
This paper is a set of reflections from researchers in the Center for Sustainable Communities, University of Canberra, drawing out emerging lessons from the process of re-configuring research methods during COVID-19. The pandemic has presented new spaces of negotiation, struggle, and interdependence within research projects and research teams. It has left researchers often uncertain about how to do their work effectively. At the same time, it has opened up opportunities to re-think how researchers undertake the work of research. In this paper we reflect on several current research programs that have had to undergo rapid design shifts to adjust to new conditions under COVID-19.
Organizational solidarity in practice in Bolivia and Argentina: Building coalitions of resistance and creativity
This article considers organizational solidarity in practice—modes of organizing rooted in solidarity, relationality, coalition-building, and difference. It does so by studying two Latin American illustrative cases: Bolivia’s campesino-indígena movements coalescing traditional practices and urban-neighborhood experiences in order to self-organize socio-political spaces; and Argentina’s worker-led empresas recuperadas por sus trabajadores (worker-recuperated enterprises), where workers have been drawing on working-class self-activity to convert companies to cooperatives and self-manage spaces of production.
The processes of subjectivation within a cooperative of workers in the City of Rosario, Argentina, are analyzed and interpreted in relation to literature in the fields of philosophy, economic geography, ethnographies and sociolinguistics. This text has been written by a team of 8 people (two collaborative researchers and six workers researchers).
There is burgeoning interest in the role of infrastructures as performative socio-technical systems that shape urban life. In this paper, we make visible an often-hidden and diverse infrastructure of care, the Community Food Provisioning Initiative (CFPI) sector. We discuss CFPIs as often hidden, yet vital infrastructures of care. Drawing on research on the CFPI sector in Sydney, Australia, we attend to the diverse ways in which CFPIs are governed, the materialities that constitute them and the diverse economic practices that support them.
This paper presents three stories of communities in the Philippines. Each story reveals how local people and environments, in their own unique way, negotiate collective well-being in the face of climate uncertainty.
This article critically assesses Western views on the social economy against everyday realities in rural northern Cambodia. Three enterprises with different characteristics were selected, giving insight into a social business providing family planning services, cooperativism and post-capitalist possibilities represented by a women-run agricultural and savings cooperative, and the reasoning of an Indigenous community that relies heavily on the forest. It draws conclusions about the direction of the rural social economy in Cambodia, giving insights of value to the designers of programs or projects to support social enterprise working within international development agencies and non-government organisations.
Abstract: The rapid expansion of urban development in Asia over the last 50 years has seen a rise in demand for building materials. From large construction companies to squatter settlers seeking to improve their housing, concrete is the building material of choice. In the Philippines there is plentiful supply of the limestone and aggregate (sand and gravel) required for concrete production. Alongside the large quarries owned by major corporations are small, often illegal quarries, supplying aggregate to the construction industry. In these shadow places informal miners scratch out a precarious livelihood. They are members of a vast artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) workforce that is global in extent.
The Cooling the Commons pattern deck is a website comprising 41 illustrated patterns of ‘cool commons’. Cool commons are publicly accessible cool urban environments that offer an alternative to airconditioned private spaces in cities where heat is compromising liveability. The website is designed as an open resource to facilitate design decisions that defend, protect, and enhance the presence of cool commons. The pattern deck builds upon the research report Cooling Common Spaces in Densifying Urban Environments which explored cool commons of relevance to Landcom’s urban renewal sites and included 5 prototype patterns.
The breast/chestfeeding body is a site of intense politics and power relations in the United States. Hardly a week passes without an incident in the news of a person being publically shamed, or unlawfully asked to change their behavior while using their body to feed their infant in public. Lactating bodies are deemed out-of-place. Simultaneously, birth-parents are judged on their infant feeding practices, with those who do not nurse cast outside of the biologically deterministic ‘good mother’ role. This framing causes the nursing or not-nursing body to become a site of debate. These takes, which point to governance, surveillance, and sexualization of bodies are limiting and have brought these debates to an impasse.
Recent research into waste has moved beyond focusing on individual behaviour change to the wider practices, systems, and social norms that construct and perpetuate waste. Running alongside this work on waste, community economy scholars have been exploring how communities form around and care for commons. In this paper we draw on social practice theory and community economy thinking to illustrate how a food rescue organisation, Kaibosh, based in Wellington, New Zealand, has created practices and mobilised meanings that enable people to collectively manage surplus food, address food poverty, and reduce waste. We show how these food rescue and distribution practices push back against individualised despair, moralism, or guilt, and connect people across food systems.
Dominated by conflict, Turkey’s Kurdish Question has transformed over time, opening up new areas of inquiry. Under the Democratic Autonomy project ongoing since the mid-2000s, Turkey’s Kurdish Movement has promoted cooperatives and communes—a post-capitalist marketization project—in Northern Kurdistan. Drawing upon economization studies and diverse and community economies studies’ engagement with assemblage thinking, this article scrutinizes the retailers’ cooperative model the Movement experimented with and explains the practices linked to post-capitalist marketization: creating inclusive platforms for debate, incorporating ordinary actors as experts, and upscaling post-capitalist marketization through building relations with other cooperatives.
This article advances a framework for the study of community economies as assemblages constituted and shaped by three primary dynamics: relations, resources and constraints, and processes of stabilization and destabilization. Drawing on diverse and community economies scholarship, assemblage theory and actor-network theory, we develop a framework that will contribute significantly to understandings of the emergence of community economies and the strategies that make them more resilient and sustainable. The conceptual framework is illustrated through a case study from Turkey’s Kurdish region – a women’s cooperative that remained resilient in the face of armed conflict and political violence.
We analyze actions carried out by rural inhabitants in the Provinces of Chaco and Buenos Aires, Argentina, carried out to counteract the effects of the agro-industrial model. The actions we analyze may seem minor or even go unnoticed, yet they are the way in which these populations counteract hegemonic politics of death. Through analyzing what we term "semantic chains" we are able to show that the people with whom we work act, perceive and signify their relation to land, work, and life in contextually situated ways by which they defend their right to live as they choose. In order to carry out these actions, several groups cooperate, and build coalitions, even though these coalitions are not perceived as stable political structures of participation, nor are they spoken in those terms.
Turismo Invasivo y Turismo Mapuche: territorio indígena y emprendimiento con identidad en Laguna Icalma, Alto Biobío
Invasive Tourism and Mapuche Tourism: indigenous territory and entrepreneurship with identity in Lake Icalma, Higher Biobio - This qualitative research explores the economic agency of Mapuche tourism entrepreneurs at the intersection between Development with Identity discourse and the touristification of Mapuche-Pewenche territory in Southern Chile.
The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is a site of medical treatment for premature and critically ill infants. It is a space populated by medical teams and their patients, as well as parents and family. Each actor in this space negotiates providing and practicing care. In this paper, we step away from thinking about the NICU as only a space of medical care, instead, taking an anti-essentialist view, re-read care as multiple, while also troubling the community of care that undergirds it. Through an examination of the practice of kangaroo care (skin-to-skin holding), human milk production and feeding, as well as, practices related to contact/touch, we oﬀer a portrait of the performance of the community of care in the space of the NICU.
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated response have brought food security into sharp focus for many New Zealanders. The requirement to “shelter in place” for eight weeks nationwide, with only “essential services” operating, affected all parts of the New Zealand food system. The nationwide full lockdown highlighted existing inequities and created new challenges to food access, availability, affordability, distribution, transportation, and waste management. While Aotearoa New Zealand is a food producer, there remains uncertainty surrounding the future of local food systems, particularly as the long-term effects of the pandemic emerge.
Bottling Water Differently, and Sustaining the Water Commons? Social Innovation Through Water Service Franchising in Cambodia
Until recently, bottled drinking water was a cause of concern for development in the Global South; now, however, it is embraced as a way to reach the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goal target 6.1 for "[u]niversal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all". Reaching SDG 6.1 through bottled drinking water is controversial as there are broad questions about how any form of packaged – and therefore commodified – water can be ethical or consistent with "the human right to water" that was ratified in 2010 by the United Nations member states. By examining a social innovation enacted by a Cambodian NGO, this research questions polarising narratives of marketised and packaged water.
J.K. Gibson-Graham’s postcapitalist approach to diverse economies has unleashed a flourishing of research and activism for other worlds. One reason for its successes is found in the intricate links between a feminist and antiessentialist critique of political economy and an experimental, enabling, and affirmative practice of economy. While initially powered by explicitly critical and negating energies, diverse-economies scholars have increasingly accentuated an affirmative, “post/critical” register. This essay explores what has happened to “capitalocentrism” in this process.
Sustainability has emerged as a central concept for discussing the current state of the human-environment system and planning for its future. To delve into the depths of sustainability means to talk about ecology, economy, and equity as fundamentally interconnected. However, each continues to be colonized by normative epistemologies of ecological sciences, neoclassical economics, and development, suggesting that with enough science and development, a more equitable sustainability is achievable. In our analysis, place emerges as an alternative epistemology through which to analyze sustainability.
About 6,000 financial cooperatives, called credit unions, with more than 103 million members manage over $1 trillion in collective assets in the United States but are largely invisible and seen as inferior to private banks. In contrast to banks that generate profit for outside investors and do not give voice to customers, these not-for-profit institutions have a democratic governance structure and a mission to provide good services to their members. We use diverse economies and critical/feminist GIS approaches to theorize them as noncapitalist alternatives to banks and possible sites of social transformation toward a solidarity economy.
In this expansive conversation, we explore the current political-cultural conjuncture in the United States. Thinking through the responses to the pandemic and the Floyd Rebellion, Akuno analyzes the violence of and tensions between an escalating white supremacy, on one hand, and an intractable (neo)liberalism that is attempting to capture and channel the energies and ideas of the Left, on the other. Akuno locates direction for the Left amid the flourishing of mutual-aid projects and the possibility of a politicized solidarity-economy movement that can fight for and build practices, relationships, and institutions beyond the limitations of the market, the state, and what is deemed to be practical.
In this paper I explore the possibility of the feminist ethic of care to enhance urban theory by placing emphasis upon our collective interdependence and responsibility to one another. As an ethics, care has the potential to maintain, continue, repair and transform our worlds. As a practice, care is often hidden from view despite the integral role care plays in ensuring survival in our worlds of both human and non-human others. As a performative act attuned to the possibility of care in the city I discuss how care was manifest in this space of care by drawing on research undertaken at The Women’s Library, Newtown which is located in Sydney, Australia. I reflect upon care-full practices that maintain, continue and repair our worlds within and beyond the library.
In this paper we present a method for valuing the multidimensional aspects of urban commons. This method draws from and contributes to a broader conception of social or community returns on investment, using the case and data of a vibrant project, strategy, and model of ecological resilience, R-Urban, on the outskirts of Paris. R-Urban is based on networks of urban commons and collective hubs supporting civic resilience practices. We use data from 2015, the year before one of the hubs was evicted from its site by a municipal administration that could not see the value of an ‘urban farm’ compared to a parking lot.