This chapter sketches the methodological implications of assemblage thinking, a mode of thought and analytical framework developed by French poststructuralists Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. As a non-dualistic technique of thinking, assemblage is especially useful for exploring relationships between the material world and processes of meaning-making. It also refuses to grant a priori explanatory power to particular actors or political economic social structures and thus has been adopted by social researchers as an effective way of avoiding the totalizing and essentializing tendencies of structuralist ontologies. When fully mobilized in research design the focus is on tracing the relationships between what Deleuze and Guattari call the ‘molar’ and the ‘molecular’, or what in diverse economies research might be thought of as dominance and difference. This approach is illustrated through a brief consideration of research on the linkages between Oklahoma’s local food movement and urban redevelopment in Oklahoma City.
Nate Gabriel and Eric Sarmiento
This chapter explores how analysing the formation of economic assemblages from a Nietzschean/Foucauldian genealogical perspective has allowed diverse economies researchers to account for power in its many forms, without falling victim to the melancholic narrative of capitalist domination that a focus on power too often engenders. The goal of genealogy is to cast the taken-for-granted as contingent, contested, and often fraught with instability. This approach enables other ways of being in the world and a methodology for what Foucault called the ‘ethical cultivation of the self’. Applying these ideas to economic discourse and practice, the authors examine the ways in which a genealogical analytic runs through each of the phases of diverse and community economies research: the deconstruction of the hegemony of capitalism to open up a discursive space for non-capitalisms and facilitate an expanded, differentiated economic imaginary; the cultivation of non-capitalist subjectivities; and the construction of community economies.
Genevieve A. Holdridge, Fausto O. Sarmiento, Suzanne E. Pilaar Birch, Bynum Boley, James K. Reap, Eric A. Macdonald, Maria Navarro, Sarah L. Hitchner and John W. Schelhas
In light of the 2008 food crisis and the impending challenges of climate change, the subject of foodstuffs has taken central stage in the international research agenda, which led to the development of the Committee on World Food Security in 2009 and prompted investment in agricultural research and development funding. Further steps taken to address the challenges to food security by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN include the necessity of expanding the diversity of plants consumed and grown, and increasing within-crop genetic diversity. They advocate that more diversity in our diets will not only improve human health, but also protect environmental quality. Indigenous peoples and small-scale food systems exhibit much agrobiodiversity globally, but here the focus will be on the Americas. Agrobiodiversity refers to the diversity of domesticated, cultivated, and wild plants that thrive in managed systems of cultural landscapes. In the Americas, research on these diverse food systems has shown that they also enhance local biodiversity, promote resource conservation and environmental sustainability, and encourage community-scale. Indigenous peoples in the Americas have been managing local food and fiber systems for millennia; however, these food systems have not been without disruption and change.