The Handbook of Diverse Economies
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The Handbook of Diverse Economies

Edited by J. K. Gibson-Graham and Kelly Dombroski

Economic diversity abounds in a more-than-capitalist world, from worker-recuperated cooperatives and anti-mafia social enterprises to caring labour and the work of Earth Others, from fair trade and social procurement to community land trusts, free universities and Islamic finance. The Handbook of Diverse Economies presents research that inventories economic difference as a prelude to building ethical ways of living on our dangerously degraded planet. With contributing authors from twenty countries, it presents new thinking around subjectivity and methodology as strategies for making other worlds possible.
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Chapter 52: Reading for economic difference

J.K. Gibson-Graham

Abstract

This chapter discusses reading as a practice of knowledge production, contrasting that produced by reading for economic difference with that of the critical project of reading for capitalist dominance. It demonstrates how reading for economic difference makes subordinated economic identities and activities more visible, allowing for the possibility that they have independent agency. Deconstruction, queering and thick description are deployed to highlight the radical heterogeneity of economic identities, relationships and trajectories. Reading for difference has the effect of transforming the nature of economic identity and dynamics from a structural imperative to an open-ended empirical question. This allows for a different imaginary in which economic possibility proliferates. The practice of reading for difference thus situates the researcher in a responsible position with respect to what stories are told. The chapter illustrates these points with examples of reading households, places and policies for economic difference.

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