Moving Beyond Neverland: Reflecting Upon the State of the Diverse Economies Research Program and the Study of Alternative Economic Spaces
Keywords:economic diversity, alterity, economic spaces, alternative economic practices, self-critique, power relations, gendered positions, historical context, geographical context
AbstractThe project of examining economic diversity and alterity has grown significantly both within the discipline of geography and beyond. There now exists an expansive literature pertaining to diverse economies and alternative economic spaces, which continues to grow in new and exciting ways. In this observation piece we reflect upon the current state of the diverse economies literature and the study of alternative economic practices, which we argue is in need of more nuanced analysis in the form of self-critique. We suggest that such an analysis is possible by bridging the gap between ‘believers’ and ‘skeptics’. Researchers exploring the economic landscape must be critical, reflexive, and reach beyond literature and political boundaries while still being hopeful. We must explore common themes, shared concerns, and possibilities for future research. In this paper, we briefly consider two topics which are in need of further attention within this field of study: (1) the importance of power relations and gendered positions; (2) the significance of historical-geographic context. Those examining alterity and/or diversity must engage more frequently with one another as each of these fields offer lessons for enacting a radical politics of the economy rooted in hope; we must actively join together in our efforts to identify and document potentially emancipatory economic forms.
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