Alternative Economic Spaces
`A hopeful but nonetheless hard-hitting analysis of alternative economic spaces proliferating in the belly of the capitalist beast. In this book Leyshon, Lee and Williams convene fascinating studies of exchange, enterprise, credit and community. They invite us onto a new and promising discursive terrain where we can analyze, criticize and above all recognize actually existing economies of diversity in the wealthy countries of the West' - J K Gibson-Graham, Australian National University and University of Massachusetts, Amherst In the context of problems in the "new economy" - from dot.com start-ups, high-technology, and telecoms - Alternative Economic Spaces presents a critical evaluation of alternatives to the global economic mainstream. It focuses on the emergence of alternative economic geographies within developed economies and analyzes the emergence of ...
- Front Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter one: Introduction: Alternative Economic Geographies
- Chapter two: The Alterity of the Social Economy
- Chapter three: Alternative Financial Spaces
- Chapter four: Alternative Retail Spaces
- Chapter five: Alternative Work Spaces
- Chapter six: Alternative Employment Spaces
- Chapter seven: Alternative Exchange Spaces
- Chapter eight: Alternative Lifestyle Spaces
- Chapter nine: Conclusions: Re-Making Geographies and the Construction of ‘Spaces of Hope’
Chapter 1 © Andrew Leyshon and Roger Lee 2003
Chapter 2 © Ash Amin, Angus Cameron and Ray Hudson 2003
Chapter 3 © Duncan Fuller and Andrew E.G. Jonas 2003
Chapter 4 © Louise Crewe, Nicky Gregson and Kate Brooks 2003
Chapter 5 © Andrew Lincoln 2003
Chapter 6 © Colin C. Williams and Jan Windebank 2003
Chapter 7 © Colin C. Williams, Theresa Aldridge and Jan Tooke 2003
Chapter 8 © Jeffrey Jacob 2003
Chapter 9 © Roger Lee and Andrew Leyshon 2003
First published 2003
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Inquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
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List of Contributors[Page vii]
Theresa Aldridge Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Brunel University, Uxbridge UB8 3PH, UK
Ash Amin Department of Geography, University of Durham, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
Kate Brooks Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Winter Street, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
Angus Cameron Department of Geography, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
Louise Crewe School of Geography, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
Duncan Fuller Division of Geography and Environmental Management, Lipman Building, University of Northumbria, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 8ST, UK
Nicky Gregson Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Winter Street, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
Ray Hudson Department of Geography, University of Durham, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
Jeffrey Jacob Graduate Division of Educational Research, The University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive, N.W., Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada
Andrew E. G. Jonas Department of Geography, University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RX, UK
Roger Lee Department of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK
Andrew Leyshon School of Geography, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
[Page viii]Andrew Lincoln Department of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK
Jane Tooke Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths College, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, UK
Colin C. Williams Department of Geography, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
Jan Windebank Department of French, University of Sheffield, Arts Tower, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
Preface: Geography, Diversity, Change and Ends[Page ix]
The geographies and histories of predicted ends remain, thankfully, to be written. What seems, however, to be true is that the prophets of recent predictions embody an apparently contradictory mix of a-geographic structural determinism and libertarian pretensions. What are conceived unproblematically as a-social (but liberal!) and in-variant markets have, at least in the views of the likes of Francis Fukuyama (1992), brought social change to an end as we now live in the best of all possible social worlds. Rather more realistically, others – equally impressed with the ‘apparent triumph of the market’ (Yergin and Stanislaw, 1998: 16) – point to certain social and material tests which must be met by ‘the return to traditional liberalism around the world’.
Niall Ferguson (2000: 8) seems to go one social stage further in seeing ‘modern economic history as a tale of capitalist triumph’. But that this socially-constructed link between capitalism and change is more apparent than real is revealed in his prior a-social acceptance of ‘the fundamental notion that it is money – economics – that makes the world go round’. Indeed, he ridicules the notion that capitalism is a powerful social shaper of history and so falls back on an unproblematic separation of an unproblematic politics and economics. Further, although claiming that ‘[T]he nexus between economics and politics is the key to understanding the modern world’ and that the ‘causal connections between the economic and political world … are so complex and so numerous that any attempt to reduce them to a model with reliable predictive power seems doomed to fail’ (2002: 20), Ferguson's economic, political and social imagination is, like other similar luminaries, profoundly a-geographic and so fundamentally limited.
In contrast, the authors of this volume present rather less simplistic attempts to understand the world. This is not surprising. For one thing, they write from a geographically-sensitized perspective which recognizes the differentiated, multi-scalar and relational networks of change. For another, these essays present original research. Here, then, there is less a [Page x]reliance on meta-generalization and notions of undifferentiated change than on detailed, theoretically-informed empirical research founded on the diverse social construction of economy and polity in which geographies are formative and generative of differentiated transformations.
The concern of the book is the presentation of research on a variety of ways in which people create and implement ways of practising economic life shaped and directed through sets of social relations differentiated from – and in some cases opposed to – mainstream relations. The research interest in these creative processes relates to the diversity of social relations underpinning economic activity, the degree to which, and the criteria by which, these practices may be judged to be ‘successful’, and the relations of influence between them and mainstream alternatives.
Above all, however, it is the celebration and analysis of the possibilities of diversity and economic proliferation that is the most significant contribution of the research reported here. Less a concern with closure and ends than with the perpetual opening out and transformation of social life. In the stultifying and unintelligent – to say nothing of the morally reprehensible – world of the assertion of hegemonic superiority, post-11 September 2001, these essays show how such diversity and proliferation are not only possible but reflect the irrepressible vitality and diversity of social life. And this despite the powerful pressures of conformity embedded in economic globalization.
The research reported here makes it clear that attempts to write geographies and histories of ends are, as yet, premature. And, in any case, if they are capable, ever, of being written, they must be able to take account of the micro-origins of social construction and resistance as well as of the multiple scales and meta-narratives of geography and history. It is the presentation of a number of attempts to flesh out such interpretations through empirical research that is the major purpose of this book.References2000) The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World 1700–2000. London: Penguin.(1992) The End of History and the Last Man. London: Penguin.(1998) The Commanding Heights: The Battle between Government and the Market Place that is Remaking the Modern World. New York: Simon & Schuster.and (RogerLee and AndrewLeyshonLondon and Nottingham
The idea for this book emerged from discussions that surrounded an Economic and Social Research Council-funded project on Local Exchange Trading Systems (R: 000237208) that the editors helped to co-ordinate. We are very grateful for the contribution and support of Theresa Aldridge, Jane Tooke and Nigel Thrift, who were our fellow collaborators on that project, and who participated in numerous discussions about alternative economic spaces. Andrew Leyshon is also grateful to David Matless and graduate students in the School of Geography, University of Nottingham, for the provocative ideas about alternative economic geographies produced during discussion sessions in the Critical Human Geography and Current Research in Human Geography modules. We would also like to thank the contributors to this volume for their initial enthusiasm for participating in this project and for their patience in waiting for the final manuscript. Last, but certainly not least, we would like to express our thanks to Robert Rojek of Sage, who was enthusiastic and supportive at the outset and displayed a degree of forbearance and faith in the project that was well beyond the call of duty.