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Making Other Worlds Possible

Making Other Worlds Possible: Performing Diverse Economies

Gerda Roelvink
Kevin St. Martin
J. K. Gibson-Graham
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Making Other Worlds Possible
    Book Description:

    There is no doubt that "economy" is a keyword in contemporary life, yet what constitutes economy is increasingly contested terrain. Interested in building "other worlds," J. K. Gibson-Graham have argued that the economy is not only diverse but also open to experimentations that foreground the well-being of humans and nonhumans alike.Making Other Worlds Possiblebrings together in one volume a compelling range of projects inspired by the diverse economies research agenda pioneered by Gibson-Graham.

    This collection offers perspectives from a wide variety of prominent scholars that put diverse economies into conversation with other contemporary projects that reconfigure the economy as performative. Here, Robert Snyder and Kevin St. Martin explore the emergence of community-supported fisheries; Elizabeth S. Barron documents how active engagements between people, plants, and fungi in the United States and Scotland are examples of highly productive diverse economic practices; and Michel Callon investigates how alternative forms of market organization and practices can be designed and implemented.Firmly establishing diverse economies as a field of research,Making Other Worlds Possibleoutlines an array of ways scholars are enacting economies differently that privilege ethical negotiation and a politics of possibility. Ultimately, this book contributes to the making of economies that put people and the environment at the forefront of economic decision making.

    Contributors: Elizabeth S. Barron, U of Wisconsin-Oshkosh; Amanda Cahill; Michel Callon, École des mines de Paris; Jenny Cameron, U of Newcastle, Australia; Stephen Healy, Worcester State U; Yahya M. Madra, Bogazici U; Deirdre McKay, Keele U; Sarah A. Moore, U of Wisconsin-Madison; Ceren Ŏzselçuk, Bogazici U; Marianna Pavlovskaya, Hunter College, CUNY; Paul Robbins, U of Wisconsin-Madison; Maliha Safri, Drew U; Robert Snyder, Island Institute; Karen Werner, Goddard College.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-4418-0
    Subjects: Population Studies, Business

Table of Contents

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  1. Introduction: An Economic Politics for Our Times
    (pp. 1-25)
    Kevin St. Martin, Gerda Roelvink and J. K. Gibson-Graham

    While there is no doubt that “the Economy” is a keyword of contemporary life, its commonly accepted meaning is increasingly up for grabs as national governments attempt to stabilize it, social movements try to occupy it, business interests seek to grow it, environmental groups pointedly vilify it, and households feel beholden to it. For those of us interested in building “other worlds,” what constitutes the economy is a contested terrain, as is the way we see it working to enable or constrain life. The task of reclaiming and reshaping our economies is central to any project of societal transformation.


  2. 1 A Fishery for the Future: The Midcoast Fishermen’s Association and the Work of Economic Being-in-Common
    (pp. 26-52)
    Robert Snyder and Kevin St. Martin

    The epigraph quote is from aWashington Postarticle that reports on the recent and, as we shall see, rather surprising development of community-supported fishing (CSF) initiatives in the United States. The article focuses on the best-known and likely first CSF, which was founded by the Midcoast Fishermen’s Association (MFA) and operates out of Port Clyde, Maine. CSFs are an alternative form of fisheries development based on the community-supported agriculture, or CSA, model (Brinson, Lee, and Rountree 2011). The latter is increasingly popular with a wide range of consumers interested in supporting local agriculture, small farms, and, often, organic farming...

  3. 2 Enterprise Innovation and Economic Diversity in Community-Supported Agriculture: Sustaining the Agricultural Commons
    (pp. 53-71)
    Jenny Cameron

    Globally, we are confronted with a host of agricultural issues. They include debates about how best to feed an increasingly urbanized global population, how to sustain smallholder and family-based farming in a context in which agriculture is being increasingly corporatized, and how to minimize food loss and food wastage along the entire food-supply chain. They also include assessments of the ability of industrial versus agroecological forms of agriculture to nourish the world, of ways to protect the ecosystem services, such as pollination, that agriculture relies on, and of what the impacts of climate change will be on agricultural systems more...

  4. 3 Performing Economies of Care in a New England Time Bank and Buddhist Community
    (pp. 72-97)
    Karen Werner

    In this chapter, I discuss two economically diverse projects in western Massachusetts, the North Quabbin Time Bank (NQTB) and the Montague Farm Café (the Café), that bring people together across class positions. The NQTB is a nonmarket, web-based currency that enables people to give and receive services without the use of cash. When NQTB members provide an hour of service, whether doing lawn work, tutoring, or elder care, they earn an hour of credit, which they can then spend on services they want. The NQTB facilitates exchanges in a cash-poor region, turning “strangers into neighbors,” according to one of the...

  5. 4 Biofuels, Ex-felons, and Empower, a Worker-Owned Cooperative: Performing Enterprises Differently
    (pp. 98-126)
    Stephen Healy

    Increasingly we are seeing innovative economic transformations being pioneered outside the realm of traditional economic development policy and practice (Allard, Davidson, and Matthaei 2008; Cameron 2010). The (capitalist) “business as usual” orientation of most economic development activity is, it seems, unable to deliver widespread benefit to people or environments. All around the world people are experimenting with new kinds of enterprises intent on producing more equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economies (Gibson-Graham, Cameron, and Healy 2013).

    Empower was one such enterprise in Worcester, Massachusetts, in the United States. It transformed waste vegetable oil (WVO) into an energy source and marginalized...

  6. 5 Creating Spaces for Communism: Postcapitalist Desire in Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Western Massachusetts
    (pp. 127-152)
    Yahya M. Madra and Ceren Özselçuk

    A striking common thread of the recent re-articulations of the “idea of communism” is the claim that communism should be thought neither as an absolute end point where social antagonism would inevitably be resolved, nor as a blueprint through which the social is organized.¹ Communism is instead proposed as a starting principle, a hypothesis, or an axiom, divorced from teleological visions of socialism where class antagonism is superseded once and for all.² As an axiom, or proposition, communism is accessible to all and ready to be set in motion at each and every conjuncture. It is associated with a shift...

  7. 6 Nature’s Diverse Economies: Reading Political Ecology for Economic Difference
    (pp. 153-172)
    Sarah A. Moore and Paul Robbins

    During the summer of 2010, while hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico, fleets of local fishers and shrimpers were grounded. This massive economic event meant the temporary or, for many, permanent destruction of countless complex local systems of production and exchange that govern the distribution of fishing surpluses, the maintenance of fleets of fishing craft, and the circulation of profits through the Gulf region (Marks 2010a). This event might be read through two very different lenses. On the one hand, we might explore the numerous ways local people self-provision, cope with uncertainty and...

  8. 7 Situating Wild Product Gathering in a Diverse Economy: Negotiating Ethical Interactions with Natural Resources
    (pp. 173-193)
    Elizabeth S. Barron

    Human communities share much with more-than-humans, including coupled biogeographies. Now, more than ever, those in the natural and social sciences acknowledge that the biogeography of the entire biota (including humans) is interconnected through economic and ecological processes (Tredici 2010). Unfortunately, the unsustainability of these interconnections has also never been more evident. Today there is a great need for humans to reexamine our practices and consider living in ways with less detrimental environmental effects. In this chapter, I ask whether resource management, a realm consistently understood in relation to the logics of industrial and consumerist capital, can be recentered on ethical...

  9. 8 Diverse Economies, Ecologies, and Ethics: Rethinking Rural Transformation in the Philippines
    (pp. 194-224)
    Katherine Gibson, Amanda Cahill and Deirdre McKay

    How rural transformation in the majority world is described and explained shapes how the future is imagined, and it has the potential to constrain or open up possibilities for local development. This chapter expands the range of available representations of rural change by attending to the diverse economies of rural areas and the ecological and ethical dynamics by which they are transformed. Drawing on insights from an action research project conducted in a rural municipality in the Philippines and engagements with ecological thinking, we outline how rural dynamics can be rethought such that different development pathways can be animated—ones...

  10. 9 Performing Posthumanist Economies in the Anthropocene
    (pp. 225-243)
    Gerda Roelvink

    The diverse economies research presented in this volume shows a range of radical rethinking of ourselves, particularly through conversations with actor network theory and psychoanalysis (see Healy, chapter 4, and Madra and Özselçuk, chapter 5, in this volume). This kind of thinking began with J. K. Gibson-Graham’s efforts to delink economic identity from capitalocentric representations. Rather than thinking of ourselves only as subjects of a capitalist economy, desiring or needing a job, Gibson-Graham (2006a, xv) has developed a “politics of the subject” in which the creation of new economic subject positions is a key component of performing postcapitalist worlds. Central...

  11. 10 International Migration and the Global Household: Performing Diverse Economies on the World Stage
    (pp. 244-268)
    Maliha Safri and Julie Graham

    Over the past twenty years, a burgeoning literature on transnationalism has brought into view international “migrant circuits” involving multidirectional flows of people, goods, and resources (Rouse 1991), the constitution and maintenance of “transnational families,” and the state–migrant intersection in countries of origin and destination (Glick Schiller 2005).¹ Increasingly, attention is directed not only to migrants who become incorporated into one nation-state while maintaining social relations that embed them in others, but also to nonmigrants left behind in countries of origin. Recent studies, for example, have focused on the affective and material conditions of children unable to move with migrant...

  12. 11 Post-Soviet Welfare and Multiple Economies of Households in Moscow
    (pp. 269-295)
    Marianna Pavlovskaya

    While struggles over waged employment and class inequality have been an important focus of social research, other dimensions of the economic lives of households that interact with and affect waged employment have not received similar attention. This is particularly true of the modern societies in the global North where household economies and related economic practices (e.g., informal work, gift economy, informal finances, networks of help, domestic production of goods and services, care for children, sick, and elderly, etc.) are considered by social scientists (and others) to be less important than waged employment and the market-based delivery of services. In the...

  13. 12 The Politics of Mapping Solidarity Economies and Diverse Economies in Brazil and the Northeastern United States
    (pp. 296-321)
    Maliha Safri

    The U.S. Social Forum held in June 2010, in Detroit, was remarkable not only at the level of scale (drawing together more than sixteen thousand activists, students, organizers, social workers, and people), but also for generating various conversational streams (Safri 2011). Solidarity economy (SE) organizers, practitioners, and scholars based in the United States sponsored more than a hundred of the sixteen hundred panels, constituting one of the single largest themes or tracks at the forum. The global social movement of solidarity and social economies comprises, in turn, regional and national level movements and networks, all seeking to draw together a...

  14. 13 How to Design Alternative Markets: The Case of Genetically Modified/Non–Genetically Modified Coexistence
    (pp. 322-348)
    Michel Callon

    Studies of economic activities, and especially of the various forms of market organization, have been profoundly influenced over the past ten years by work in science and technology studies (STS). The role of economic theories and materialities, previously neglected, have been brought to the forefront. The notion ofmarket sociotechnical agencements(mSTA) (Caliskan and Callon 2010) has been forged, for example, to express this new conception of markets.¹ In this chapter I would like to suggest that STS, and particularly the analytical current called actor network theory (ANT), can also help us to take a new look at the relations...