The University of Arizona

The biopolitics of community economies in the era of the Anthropocene

Stephen Healy

Abstract


In a recent essay Michael Hardt gives voice to a widespread discontent with the left-academic project of critique, stemming from its failure to deliver on its emancipatory promises. Scholarship, in geography and many other social science disciplines is dominated by a pre-occupation with charting the intricate connections between neoliberal governance and an expansive capitalism. As Hardt and many others have observed, the process of critical exposure fails to incite a political response from broader publics. As an alternative to the failed politics of critique, Hardt — inspired by Foucault's engagement with the cynics—argues for a practice of militant biopolitics—an autonomous mode of reflecting, thinking and acting together that eschews expert knowledge. In this paper I argue that the pioneering work of Gibson-Graham and scholars inspired by their work can be seen as a form of militant biopolitics. Collaborative and participatory forms of research and working with others, become the basis for engaging with and transforming economies and human interactions with ecologies. Beyond generating critical awareness, this scholarship aims at producing a post-capitalist politics.

Keywords: Gibson-Graham, diverse economies, biopolitics, critique, post-capitalism


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2458/v21i1.21133