Heterodox Economic Spaces and Anarchist Geographies

We’ve just published Richard White and Colin Williams’ ‘The pervasive nature of heterodox economic spaces at a time of neoliberal crisis: Towards a “postneoliberal” anarchist future‘ on our Early View site. The paper will be in print in Antipode 44(5) – a special issue on anarchist geographies (the introduction is on Early View also) – and should be of interest to readers who enjoyed our recent virtual issue, Imagining and Enacting Community Economies, and the 2012 Antipode RGS-IBG lecture, Take Back the Economy, Any Time, Any Place: Pedagogies for Securing Community Economies, which Katherine Gibson gave in Edinburgh.

In their paper, White and Williams sketch out some of the connections between anarchist theory and practice and those imagining and enacting community economies. “Strategies for economic change, to be successful, must simultaneously address both the economic practice and the economic imagination”, they argue. As a way in to thinking about future possibilities, we must look for, and recognise when we see them, actually existing ‘vibrant, creative, heterodox’ economic practices – economic practices, or tendencies, “ideologically orientated toward anarchist-based visions of work and organisation”, and not “utopian” but “deeply rooted within contemporary society”. These practices, to be clear, needn’t be distant, on the periphery or in the margins, and they needn’t be transitory or provisional: there are plenty of durable, proximate alternatives, White and Williams demonstrate, which “persist in the very heartlands of our commodified world”, alternatives which are characterised by mutual aid, reciprocity, co-operation, collaboration, and inclusion.