The Community Economies Collective (CEC) and the Community Economies Research Network (CERN) are international collaborative networks of researchers who share an interest in theorizing, discussing, representing and ultimately enacting new visions of economy. By making multiple forms of economic life viable options for action, these diverse, engaged scholarly and activist efforts aim to open the economy to ethical debate and provide a space within which to explore different economic practices and pathways.
These projects grew out of J.K. Gibson-Graham's feminist critique of political economy that focused upon the limiting effects of representing economies as dominantly capitalist. Central to the project is the idea that economies are always diverse and always in the process of becoming. CERN and CEC developed as ways of connecting and coordinating the work of researchers and activists who document and theorize the multiple ways in which people are making economies of difference and in the process realizing their interdependence with others.
Our work aims to
.produce a more inclusive understanding of economy
.highlight the extent and contribution of hidden and alternative economies
.theorize economy and community as sites of becoming
.build sustainable non-capitalist economic alternatives
.foster ethical economic experimentation
.engender collaborations between activists, academics and communities
This website includes information on who we are, how we are rethinking the economy outside of a capitalocentric discourse, and on our research projects that are enacting diverse and ethical economies.
The website also includes resources for academic and community researchers and activists involved in revisioning economic futures, including academic papers and stories of practical interventions in particular places.
The Community Economies website is our contribution to an ongoing conversation about economic futures that put justice and sustainability first.
"This could be what a conversation is—simply the outline of a becoming."
(Deleuze, Dialogues, p.2)
For more information please contact: email@example.com
Other economies are possible
We are interested in an economic politics that allows us to think creatively and to start here and now to make new economies. We believe that other, more just and ecologically sustainable, economies are possible. Everyday people in everyday places can be part of re-thinking and re-enacting economies.
Words make worlds
How we imagine, frame and talk about our economy influences how we act. Contemporary economic politics confronts the economy as a bounded object separated from other social processes. This representation informs modes of accounting value and influences how economies are materialized through practices and organizations. In order to remake the economy we need different representations and framings that enable new modes of calculation and materialization.
The ice-berg image
The iceberg is one way of illustrating that what is usually regarded as ‘the economy’ (i.e. wage labour, market exchange of commodities and capitalist enterprise) is but a small set of activities by which we produce, exchange and distribute values in our society. This image places the reputation of economics as a comprehensive and scientific body of knowledge under critical scrutiny for its a narrow focus and mystifying effects. The iceberg opens up a conversation about the economy, honouring our common knowledge of the multifarious ways in which all of us are engaged in producing, transacting and distributing values in this hidden underwater field, as well as out in the air.
This term refers to the dominant representation of all economic activities in terms of their relationship to capitalism—as the same as, the opposite to, a complement of, or contained within capitalism. Our attempts to destabilize the hegemony of capitalocentrism have included a number of theoretical strategies:
1) production of different representations of economic identity, and
2) development of different narratives of economic development.
Deconstruction of ‘capitalism’
A representation of the ECONOMY as essentially CAPITALIST is dependent on the exclusion of many types of economic activities that transact, remunerate, appropriate and distribute and that do so according to multiple registers of value. The ‘excluded others’ upon which the seeming coherence of capitalism is based include a range of activities that have been the subject of inquiry by non-economists or non-mainstream economists.
The diverse economy framework is one way of representing the radical diversity of economic relations that make up our world. The framework is always developing, it is not attempting to be comprehensive. What we have represented is various lists organized in columns that denote certain economic processes. There is no implied horizontal relationship across rows.
Note: The items in each cell are only examples of what could be included.
The community economy is a normative representation of the diverse economy, one in which certain ethics are valued over others. In a community economy our interdependence with each other and with all earth others is recognized and respected as we negotiate:
.what is necessary to personal, social and ecological survival
.how social surplus is appropriated and distributed
.whether and how social surplus is to be produced and consumed
.how a commons is produced and sustained