Community Economy: Ontology, Ethics, and Politics for Radically-Democratic Economic Organizing
Ethan Miller, 2013
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Far from naming a singular postcapitalist politics, J.K. Gibson-Graham’s notion of “the community economy” is a polyvalent term that condenses a number of distinct elements. Distinguishing between these, and exploring their connections and tensions, can clarify and strengthen what has become one of the most compelling contemporary attempts to develop a radically-democratic approach to imagining life beyond capitalism. In this paper, I read Gibson-Graham’s “community economy” as if through a prism, refracting it into three constituent elements—ontology, ethics, and politics—and placing them in conversation with one another via comparative explorations of both “community economy” and “solidarity economy” as contemporary articulations for radicallydemocratic economic organizing. In teasing out their tensions and complementarities, I hope to contribute toward the further development of community economies theory as a set of conceptual tools for engaging and strengthening the complex ethical and political work of building noncapitalist livelihoods.
Community economies’website: www.communityeconomies.org