Embodying the Critique of Capitalism through Community-led, Prefigurative Initiatives: Towards a New Research Agenda

by | 6 Nov 2017 | Events | 0 comments

Eco village. Torri Superiore is one single building, apparently a collection of towers (Torri), creating a maze. It reveals itself as the organisational nerve centre of the European network of eco-villages. It is situated near Torri, the main village, about 20 km from the coast. Photo Paul Smit.

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).

Queries to: luke.s.yates@manchester.ac.uk