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Building Dignified Worlds

Geographies of Collective Action

2016
Author:

Gerda Roelvink

Building Dignified Worlds

Long before the Occupy movement, contemporary collectives have been constructing surprising alternative economies

Building Dignified Worlds investigates social movements that do not simply protest but actively forge functional alternatives. Gerda Roelvink takes actor network and performativity theories of action as starting points for thinking about how contemporary collectives bring the new into being.

A fantastic contribution to contemporary post-structuralist geographic thought that elaborates new politics of social change.

Marianna Pavlovskaya, Hunter College, SUNY

Building Dignified Worlds examines how contemporary collectives are designing alternative economies. Contemporary collectives differ markedly from previous groups associated with revolutionary politics. Instead of assembling large groups of workers around labor issues, these new collectives creatively arrange diverse peoples, animals, natural environments, and technologies around economic concerns. Like older forms of leftist organizing, these collectives seek to bring about change. However, rather than working to overthrow and replace an underlying capitalist system with an equally totalizing alternative like socialism, they experiment with new forms of economic life. This book explores how socially and politically concerned groups actually establish alternative economies.

Building Dignified Worlds investigates social movements that do not simply protest but actively forge functional alternatives. The market model described by many scholars and activists as the enemy of these recent social movements rarely exists in today’s world. As Gerda Roelvink notes, current markets are better conceptualized as dynamic social networks open to intervention by innovative social movements. Radical scholars have theorized social transformation as a performative act. They have provided extensive analysis of how discourse shapes the world through language and is materialized in bodies and practices. Until now, though, little has been written about the geographical nature of collective associations “performing” new worlds.

Roelvink takes actor network and performativity theories of action as starting points for thinking about how contemporary collectives bring the new into being. This approach enables an understanding of how collectives initiate change and begins to map the forces through which they operate. Roelvink’s work reveals, in particular, how the relational and geographical nature of performative action is central to the ways in which hybrid collectives strive to create alternative economies.

Building Dignified Worlds

Gerda Roelvink is a senior lecturer in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology at Western Sydney University.

Building Dignified Worlds

A fantastic contribution to contemporary post-structuralist geographic thought that elaborates new politics of social change.

Marianna Pavlovskaya, Hunter College, SUNY

Building Dignified Worlds is a lively and inspiring book that journeys among collectives who invent and experiment with new forms of economic organizations.

Michel Callon, École des mines de Paris

Roelvink’s writing effortlessly carries the reader from beginning to end.

Environment & Planning D: Society and Space

Building Dignified Worlds

Contents
Introduction: Geographies of Collective Action
1. The Discontents of Knowing Neoliberalism
2. Spatializing Economic Concerns
3. Affective Collective Action
4. Transforming Markets
5. Dignified Humanity, Dignified World
Conclusion: Doing Research Together
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index