Resilience and Post-Capitalist Organizing:Towards self-reproducing movements

Maria Daskalaki

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Capitalist relations of production and consumption have been based on the misuse of science and technology, placing humans as the managers of nature and in opposition to many forms of life on earth, including human life. In this process, the powers of civic society and governments is weakened, as private energy suppliers capitalize on agreements such as NAFTA, to establish the neo-liberal ideologies of development, progress and growth. This relation of exploitation between human beings (as agents) and natural resources (as objects) has been exacerbated by neoliberal economic policies that frame nature as another commodity in a vast accumulation of commodities.Early literature on environmental movements focuses on the local efforts to construct a moral economy of the environment (see for example, Martinez-Alier 1990). However, the label ‘environmental’ employed in much of this work is hardly appropriate, since the grassroots and NGO movements involved in these efforts often focus more broadly on justice and call for democratization of local resources, which crosscuts the environment-poverty axis (Peet and Watts, 1996). This multi-dimensionality is, according to Escobar (1992), indicative of an autopoietic way of doing politics, self-producing and self-organizing, which seeks to create decentered autonomous spaces outside the state arena. Recent mobilisations, expressed through a range of collective actions, such as Occupy, or the Indignados, have begun to challenge and resist the current economic and political order (Holloway, 2010; Hardt and Negri, 2005; Sundell and Toivanen, 2012). Prior to that, several local struggles in India, Nigeria, and Kenya, for example, have challenged ecoccentric environmentalism in the developed world, and are directly linked to independence struggles, anti-corruption and political reform (Haynes, 1999). Similar struggles also included what has been described as the ‘environmentalism of the poor’ (Guha, 1997; see also for example the La Via Compesina; UN conference in Rio, 2012). These struggles have forged links between environmental-led and economic-led and urged us to rethink economic and social relations. Along the same lines, Gibson-Graham (2005; 2006) invite people to re-imagine their economic activities in terms other than capitalist ones, such as local trading schemes, different forms of labour besides wage labour and different forms of surplus distribution like ones that are governed by social or environmental ethic. This opens up possibilities for people to re-imagine their economic activities in terms of cooperation, mutuality, respect and solidarity, values that can bring about not only post-capitalist socio-economic relations but also alternative ecological imaginaries. Accordingly, politics is a discursive articulatory process (Laclau and Mouffe, 1985) and ‘one of the great merits of the turn to discourse, broadly understood, within political ecology, is the demands it makes for nuanced, richly textured empirical work (a sort of political-ecological thick description) which matches the nuanced beliefs and practices of the world’ (Pitt and Watts, 1996: 38, emphasis added). Such empirical work ought to focus on new forms of economic organization that do not rest upon conditions of growth, but instead are based on solidarity, diverse economies and post-development (Latouche 2009; Eisenstein, 2011; Acosta, 2012; Gudynas, 2013; Fadaee, 2016). We thus offer a framing of resilience that forges what Schlosberg and Coles (2016) call ‘alternative flows’ – flows that convey ‘a radically different set of values, encompassing stronger community, more leisure time, experiments with alternative economic structures and market forms based on small scale production, co-ops and community-based services’ (Levy and Spicer, 2013: 665). These, we will propose, currently constitute the threads of a new narrative towards the creation of an inclusive, participatory, egalitarian and resilient societies. Through their emphasis on escaping from the economy, this narrative ‘provide[s] both conceptual and practical strategies for challenging the growth economy […] by inviting us to rethink economic practices in terms of democratic choices and acts of citizenship’ (Fournier, 2008: 541). We draw on an ethnographic study of anti-extractivist communities and new forms of economic organization in Greece, which is currently enjoying an acute expansion of ‘alternatives’ (Parker, Cheney, Fournier & Land, 2014), and provide an analysis of: a) how they challenge ‘dominant discourses of economic growth, consumerism and neoliberalism that are at the core of an unsustainable society’ (Alexander and Stibbe, 2014: 4) and b) how they move towards collective practices for the provision of the basic needs of everyday life, which offer a new ethos of human immersion in non-human natural systems (Schlosberg and Coles, 2016). Alternatives, we propose, are not only integral components of a broader emancipatory struggle for post-capitalist organization, but also a necessary condition for the institution of concrete forms of utopia (Dinerstein, 2016). Hence, by focusing on an alternative ecological economy (Escobar, 1992l 1995; 1996) brings together discussions of degrowth and organization (Fournier, 2008) with alternative visions of resilient communities that not only ‘reduce their material impact on the environment’ (Jackson, 2011: 35) but partake in the social reproduction of the capacity to live and work for different futures, or what Dinerstein (2014) calls the ‘art of organizing hope’.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusUnpublished - 22 Mar 2018
    EventLatin American and European Meeting on Organization Studies - IAE Business School, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Duration: 22 Mar 201824 Apr 2018


    ConferenceLatin American and European Meeting on Organization Studies
    Abbreviated titleLAEMOS
    CityBuenos Aires
    Internet address


    • post-capitalist
    • Organizational Analysis
    • Resistance
    • Resilience, Psychological

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