WGSS 244
Actually Existing Alternative Economies Fall 2014
Division II Writing Skills Exploring Diversity Initiative
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Capitalism has a way of constricting our imaginations so that we come to believe the only possible form of economic institution is one based on profit seeking, competition and individualism. However movements in countries including Brazil, France, Canada and Spain are demonstrating otherwise. Theorists, practitioners and social activists are adopting labels including ‘Solidarity Economy’ and ‘New Economy’ to group together economic activities based on ideals of human provisioning, social justice and environmental sustainability. They point out that many of these activities are already taking place and are often crucial to our lives, but rendered invisible by economic theory. In the words of Brazilian popular educator and economist Marcos Arruda, ‘a solidarity economy does not arise from thinkers or ideas; it is the outcome of the concrete historical struggle of the human being to live and to develop him/herself as an individual and a collective.’ In this tutorial we will learn and debate about some of the activities being named and built under this label, such as the networks of worker-owned cooperatives in Mondragon, Spain, the growth of local currencies and time exchanges, open source development, fair trade organizations and different ways of organizing care work. We will look at some of the history and debates around worker-owned cooperatives, ranging from Victorian England through African-American experiences throughout the 20th century, to examples in post-Independence Africa. The ILO declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives and argued that they are a particularly appropriate form to African development. Is this plausible, and what role might coops play in AIDS-affected communities? Feminist geographers Julie Graham and Katherine Gibson developed practices of ‘mapping’ local economies with communities in Australia and Western Massachusetts in ways that bring to light the invisible resources and practices of provisioning and solidarity, and challenge what they describe, drawing on the work of feminist theorist Sharon Marcus, as a ‘script’ of local helplessness to resist the ‘rape’ of their economies by the forces of global capitalism. Do these proposed discursive practices actually present realistic possibilities for producing sustained economic change? And finally, why is the solidarity economy now so much more advanced in other countries than the US? The course fulfills the Exploring Diversity Initiatives requirement because of its central focus on the diversity of economic institutions within and across countries.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 8
Class#: 1828
Grading: OPG
Requirements/Evaluation: students will meet Professor every week in pairs. Each week one student will write a 5-7 page essay and the other student will offer a critique
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none; open to sophomores and above
Enrollment Preferences: seniors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Exploring Diversity Initiative

Class Grid

Course Catalog Archive Search



Start Time
End Time