Katherine Gibson, Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy talk to Society & Space co-editor Jane M. Jacobs about their forthcoming book: Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide For Transforming Our Communities, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013.
Take Back the Economy looks at how the economy is the outcome of the decisions and efforts everyone makes every day. Full of exercises and inspiring examples from around the world, it shows how people can implement small-scale changes in their own lives to create ethical economies. It was written by J.K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy, all geographers and founding members of the Community Economies Collective:
Jane: Thank you all for joining me and agreeing to this interview. Let me begin by saying how much I enjoyed reading the book. Congratulations! I would like to begin by asking a bit about how you came to write a book such as this. It is a distinct genre of writing, something between an academic book and something more populist—almost a self-help book. Do let me ask how the book came about, what were you trying to achieve by writing the book?
Katherine: Well we wanted to write something populist, so we could get our ideas out to a wider audience. We thought in the beginning, when we started five years ago, that it was going to be a version of A Postcapitalist Politics. So in the first instance we wanted to write a book that anyone could pick up and read, whether it is an undergraduate or whether it is a community organizer. So we definitely had that audience in mind when we were writing it. In A Postcapitalist Politics we talked about a language politics, where the idea of a community economy could be a new kind of node, a mobilizing node, for people to reorganize our economy. But how to actually do that? We experimented with action research projects that were all very place based and relatively constrained and I guess our feeling was; how do we broaden this out? And if we want to do that we have to write something that is going to speak to a much wider audience. And I think, the others could mention other things, but the process of moving to that voice took a long time. And to do it in a way that we didn’t feel was too preachy, because I think the point about self-help is true. Even in A Postcapitalist Politics Julie and I mentioned how we are self-help junkies. There is no doubt about it! Or at least I think I was more when she was alive, actually (laughter). Maybe I should return to it as I am missing the benefits of it. We all experienced the way in which a new reframing can totally shift your sense of self and possibility, and that is what we wanted to do in this book, for the economy. But I will end there and let the others reflect.
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