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.
In this chapter, Joanne and Kelly discuss partnerships between Indigenous methodologies, such as Kaupapa Māori research, and community economies research.
In this chapter, Kelly lays out the case for proliferating and valuing caring labour, so that all kinds of different people might share in it.
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.
Humans depend on fungi to provide food and medicine, and to maintain the environments we inhabit. Yet their conservation has not captured the attention of conservationists, perhaps because existing normative economic, ecological, and social ways of creating value for plants and animals are a challenge to adapt for fungi. Using a critical physical geography perspective, this chapter argues that the value of fungi becomes clearer using alternative forms of accounting focused on interconnectivity. The concept of econo-ecologies refocuses value on the importance of work and exchange. For fungi, econo-ecological conservation is generated through sustainable livelihood practices, and ethical biogeographies.
This chapter in the Handbook of Environmental Sociology is based on a particular understanding of post-capitalism, as a series of strategies for socio-economic-ecological negotiations. These strategies engage 1) the politics of language, 2) the politics of the subject, and 3) the politics of collective action. Understanding language, subjects, and collective actions as spaces for political engagement is about considering them as processes actively and always under negotiation rather than as fixed objects. Using these strategies I consider the question: what does sustainability look like in a post-capitalist world? Specifically, how can a post-capitalist politics support and enrich the concept of emplaced sustainability?
Environments and ecosystems around the world support human life, culture and basic needs in myriad ways. Indeed, the ‘labour’ of non-humans, or Earth Others, as we refer to them here, is hugely diverse. But ecological descriptions of Earth Other interdependencies demonstrate that rethinking labour to build sustainable futures should not be a purely human-focused project. Much of the work that keeps our planet going has nothing to do with humans. We humans benefit from it but it is not for us. Today a growing dissatisfaction with an exclusive focus on human livelihoods at the expense of planetary livelihood has created a demand to attend to non-human labour and the work it does. In this chapter we explore the work Earth Others do. What does it look like?
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.
I explore three sites that I was involved in commoning in a post-industrial working class neighbourhood in Montreal: a garden on a city-owned plot of land, a mural on a stock-corporation-owned viaduct and a community-owned industrial building “expropriated” from a capitalist developer after a 10-year grassroots campaign. In each of these sites new property relations were forged, ones where a commoning-community manages the space and benefits from how the space has been shaped. Each community is engaged in a continuous process of making and re-making as it is confronted with powerful forces that seek to enclose or uncommon the property it has taken responsibility for.
Voici deux entrevues qui donnent à voir le portrait et le parcours de deux femmes anarchistes, l’une en France, l’autre au Québec.
Irène Pereira et Anna Kruzynski, qui ne se connaissent pas, tiennent des propos qui se font écho, en particulier quant à leur manière de mobiliser prudemment l’étiquette d’« anarchaféministe », même si elles ont plusieurs expériences dans des collectifs féministes. Aujourd’hui, elles s’intéressent et se préoccupent de toutes les formes de domination et cherchent à intégrer dans leur anarchisme des réflexions et des expériences d’ailleurs, par exemple des mouvements afro-américains, autochtones et latino-américains.
Icebergian Economies of Contemporary Art offers reflections on art and economy, stimulated by J.K. Gibson-Graham’s representation of the economy as an iceberg. Themes include visible/invisible; blue line or the surface; the gloss over the dark matter; me versus the many; and art world/s.
An online version of the book is available here. The book was a contribution to a larger project, Cyber-PiraMMMida, which explores the pyramidal spectres and structures which haunt the worlds of architecture, art, academia and the everyday.
Collectively performed reciprocal labour involves a non-monetized exchange of group work done by community members for the benefit usually of one community member or household. In this chapter I shed light on the ubiquity of collectively performed reciprocal labour exchange, thereby establishing its legitimacy in a diverse economy.
This chapter in the Methodology Part VI of The Handbook of Diverse Economies discusses reading as a practice of knowledge production. It introduces 'critical reading' as a reading for dominance and lays out techniques of deconstruction and queering to show what reading for difference might entail.
Economic diversity abounds in a more-than-capitalist world, from worker-recuperated cooperatives and anti-mafia social enterprises to caring labour and the work of Earth Others; from fair trade and social procurement to community land trusts, free universities and Islamic finance. The Handbook of Diverse Economies presents research that inventories economic difference as a prelude to building ethical ways of living on our dangerously degraded planet.
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 higher education, efforts to diversify the workforce and create a more inclusive and repre- sentative environment for students and employees have often been stymied by institutionalized racism, a lack of resources, and a lack of institutional energy. In this chapter I discuss an action research intervention, inspired by diverse economies scholarship, that was aimed at valuing and strengthening diversity and inclusion in a community college setting. A starting point for the project was the recognition that within the workplace there are multiple forms of work being performed, and associated ways of being, that fall outside of the traditional identity of a waged worker being paid for services rendered.
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.
After five years of the consolidation, Mutual Support-Rekülüwun can be seen as part of a repertoire of creative responses by Mapuche families to the monetization of their rural economies in southern Chile, which has accelerated notoriously in the last decade. The project was set out in 2012 by the Mapuche-Lafkenche community of Llaguepulli and MAPLE, to create a member-owned institution while abiding to an indigenous cultural context and community protocols.
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.
An introduction to Planning for Feminist and 2SLGBTQ+ Spaces. When I was a planning student in the late 1990’s, women activists contesting patriarchal city building with Women Plan Toronto (WPT) sparked my interest in planning for women and 2SLGBTQ communities. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, WPT encouraged public sector planners and policy makers to plan women-friendly neighbourhoods that included accessible and affordable housing and public spaces and parks amenable to children, seniors and people with disabilities. WPT also advocated practical alternatives to address women’s planning concerns, including strategies for designing public transportation suitable for wheelchairs and strollers and ensuring women’s and children’s safety in urban design.
Reading for difference in the archives of Tropical Geography: Imagining an(other) Economic Geography for beyond the Anthropocene
This paper is based on the 2016 Neil Smith lecture presented at St Andrews University. It honours the work of a geographer whose pioneering work on uneven development and the complex relations between capitalism and nature shaped late 20th century thinking inside and beyond the discipline of Geography. Today the collision of earth system dynamics with socio-economic dynamics is shaking apart Enlightenment knowledge systems, forcing questions of what it means to be a responsible inhabitant on planet earth and how, indeed, to go onwards ‘in a different mode of humanity’ (to quote eco-feminist philosopher Val Plumwood).
This paper contributes an intersectional feminist analysis and methodological approach to debates about commoning and social enterprise. Through a narrative description of feminist social enterprise projects based on action research with the Kinning Park Complex, a social centre with a radical history in Glasgow’s South Side, I demonstrate how contemporary community economic development models can entrench intersectional exclusion. Specifically, I show how market‐oriented social enterprise models reproduce precarious work, hinder cooperative ethics, and promote depoliticised notions of difference. However, I also investigate the ways that community organisers and activists at KPC are re‐working these neoliberal models to carve out spaces for feminist commoning.
Towards An Ontological Politics of Collaborative Entanglement: Teaching and Learning as Methods Assemblage
In this essay I reflect on and theorize efforts to teach, learn, and advance solidarity economy, a movement and design project to create the conditions for community determination and collective well-being. I draw from five years of ethnographic work and two years of teaching efforts to reassemble the resources at hand into a pedagogical intervention along the lines of what Jon Law (2004) describes as a “methods assemblage,” a set of practices, techniques, and relations that work to organize and condense particular realities. I explore how a methods assemblage of solidarity economy can open epistemological, ideological, and material trajectories toward other ways of being in the world.
In this article, Katharine and Kelly reflect on the role of the body in ethnographic research, suggesting some questions we might consider as we seek to create caring academic communities supporting each other in ethnographic work.
Modern-day mining is now highly mechanized and provides regular employment to highly paid workers in many parts of the world. However, there also exist millions of individuals who gain a livelihood from informal, artisanal and small-scale mining. From a diverse economies point of view, mining is as much non-capitalist as it is capitalist. The chapter aims to depart from the binary framing of informality and formality which situates informal mining labour only as ‘other’ to formal work in the capitalist mining industry. The author positions informal mining labour as part of the survival portfolio of poor and landless households to argue for a more dynamic view that opens up different possibilities for livelihood-making.
This chapter discusses how research can be part of a social action agenda to build new economies. This research is based on collaborations between researchers and research participants, and involves three interwoven strategies. The first focuses on developing new languages of economy; the second, on decentring economic subjectivity; and the third, on collective actions to consolidate and build economic initiatives. The chapter illustrates how these strategies feature in three research projects. The first project was based in the Philippines and involved working with an NGO and two municipalities to pilot pathways for endogenous economic development.
This chapter overviews the diverse economies framing of the enterprise, a framing that is founded on two distinguishing features. First there is the understanding of class as a process of producing, appropriating and distributing surplus labour; and second there is the use of a ‘weak theory’ perspective. What results is the recognition of enterprise diversity such that the economic landscape is populated with a range of non-capitalist, capitalist and more-than-capitalist enterprises. In this diversity there are enterprises that are producing, appropriating and distributing surplus labour in ways that take into the wellbeing of people and the planet.
The article focuses on free universities as grassroots responses to the crisis of universities worldwide, exemplifying how they contribute to the development of postcapitalist imaginaries in academia.
Community Economies News: Crypto-knitting, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies.