The Handbook of Diverse Economies

The Handbook of Diverse Economies

The Handbook of Diverse Economies has been published by Edward Elgar. The editors J.K. Gibson-Graham and Kelly Dombroski have reviewed no less than 576 pages and worked with 66 authors from all over the world.

The Handbook comprises 58 chapters, organised around seven parts, Enterprise, Labour, Transactions, Property, Finance, Subjectivity and Methodology, with each part being introduced by a Framing Essay.

The editors say, “All in all, it was a joy to be part of this collective effort and we are extremely proud of this volume.”

The chapters have been written by members of the Community Economies Research Network, and range from those on worker-recuperated cooperatives in Argentina and Latin America and eco-social enterprises in the Czech Republic to ones on sustaining livelihoods in Ghana, hacking and algorithmic activism, and treaty settlement finance in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The introductory essay, written by the editors, elaborates the diverse economies framing and highlights how the practice of inventorying economic diversity can play a key role in building ethical community economies and contributing to postcapitalist futures.

This essay also addresses concerns that have sometimes been expressed about the diverse economies framing, that it underplays power and the dangers of co-optation, that it discounts scale and overstates the efficacy of small-scale endeavours, and that it does not sufficiently deal with undesirable unwanted practices in the diverse economy.

This essay and the others in this collection aptly demonstrate how representing the economic landscape as heterogeneous is part of an ethical intervention that has the effect of reducing the discursive dominance of capitalism and opening up the space of possibility in an economic pluriverse.

The cover illustration had been created by visual artist Ailie Rutherford, and represents one of many economic maps created as part of The People's Bank of Govanhill (Glasgow). Rutherford's other community economies initiatives include the crypto-knitting-circles project (conducted with Bettina Nissen), which aims to demystify blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

The editors had arranged for three panels based on the Handbook at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting in Denver, USA. However, due to COVID, they have postponed the book launch and hope to move these sessions to the 2021 AAG meetings in Seattle.

Christina Jerne