Dr Lara Monticelli, Visiting Researcher Dutch Research Institute for Transitions
Wednesday 15th November 4.30-5.30pm, Humanities Bridgeford St 253 (Philosophy), University of Manchester
In recent years, terms like ‘sharing economy’, ‘industry 4.0’, ‘collaborative economy’ have become the buzzwords in academic research and public debate – gaining prominence in tandem with the growth of digital capitalism. While much has been said about the ways in which digital technology is transforming entire swathes of the economy and constructing new forms of exchange, the predominant tendency has been the reification and expansion of modern capitalism, aimed at maximizing profits and reproducing exploitative mechanisms towards workers, natural resources and the environment. Within this critical juncture in the development of capitalism cooperatives, political consumerism and alternative lifestyles are being adopted and advocated by a growing number of social groups.
In light of these phenomena and recent contributions from the literature, my presentation attempts to provide with an original theoretical framework focusing on collective and community-based practices that aim at ‘embodying’ the critique to consumerist and capitalist societies. These include co-housing, eco-villages, intentional communities and transition towns, increasingly widespread and translocal examples of how people are trying to concretize, not without effort, ‘real utopias’ (Wright 2010).
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