I: Alternatives to Capitalism (on hiatus for the 2023 conference, back in 2024)
The recent and yet unresolved Great Recession has revealed just how unjust, inefficient and unsustainable contemporary capitalism has become. This has revitalized public and academic debate about the future of capitalism and the urgent need to envision and enact alternatives that can help tackle the multiple crises that societies are currently facing: high and rising inequality of income and power, eroding democracy, human-induced climate change and environmental destruction.
As income and wealth inequality have intensified within capitalist societies, people’s sense of voice or control over longstanding societal institutions has also diminished. In response, many people across the globe have joined together to create new futures through alternative systems, institutions, organizations and other collectives, and relationships. Our network encourages research and scholarship on such collective efforts to create more transformative, egalitarian, horizontal or non-hierarchical practices, relations, social movements, groups, organizations, and societies. Moreover, our network provides an engaging forum for discussing and envisioning alternatives.
The broad aim of this research network is to advance the international, comparative and interdisciplinary study of alternatives to capitalism and its associated institutions. More specifically, the research network has three goals:
1) to bridge the disparate interpretative frameworks that exist by engaging in a theoretical systematization of the literature;
2) to map existing alternatives embedded within various socio-economic and geographic contexts;
3) to encourage the use of innovative research methods that can provide new insights and reach broader audiences.
Contributors are invited to investigate and analyse the practices, strategies and discourses being used by different social groups to enhance and exercise social power rooted in the voluntary association of people and based on the capacity to engage in collective action of various sorts.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: cooperatives (worker/producer/consumer) and cooperativism; political and ethical consumerism; eco-villages and sustainable communities; community and practice-based initiatives; the future of work; radical lifestyles; utopias and alternative futures; direct democracy and municipalism; commons and commoning; alternative forms of organisation and governance; anti-capitalist trade unions and political parties; transformative social innovation; alternative media and other forms of alternative social reproduction. We are particularly interested in the ways in which the State and the market interact with these alternatives through mechanisms of facilitation, co-optation, or repression.