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Transcending the depiction of market and non-market labour practices; implications for degrowth


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Transcending the depiction of market and non-market labour practices; implications for degrowth

  1. 1. TRANSCENDING THE DEPICTION OF MARKET AND NON-MARKET LABOUR PRACTICES, EXPLORING COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR DE-GROWTH Second International Conference on Degrowth, Barcelona March 2010 Colin C Williams : Professor of Public Policy, School of Management, University of Sheffield, 9 Mappin Street Sheffield S1 4DT, UK, E-mail: Presented by Dr. Richard J White : Senior Lecturer in Economic Geography, Faculty of Development and Society, Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Howard Street, Sheffield, S1 1WB, UK , Telephone +44(0)114 2252899,
  2. 2. Part I: Moving beyond the economic binary framework Part II: The geographies of community engagement and their relevance for de-growth.   Part III toward a Total Social Organization Labour (TSOL) approach to community self-help
  3. 3.  "The Economy haunts and constrains us as social beings – we find our life pathways and visions of social possibility hemmed and hampered by its singular capitalist identity" J.K. Gibson-Graham (2001) An Ethics of the Local • "Escaping from the economy: the politics of degrowth" (Fournier, 2008) • Putting the economy in its place
  4. 4.  "The iceberg model places the reputation of economics as a comprehensive and scientific body of knowledge under critical suspicion for its narrow focus and mystifying effects." "The informal economy considers those diverse forms of work and activities that exist beyond formal employment" Useful but… Problematising this formal/ informal binary hierarchy
  5. 5. Conventional Representations Formal (Superordinate) Informal (Subservient) Growth De-growth Capitalist Pre-Capitalist Advanced Primitive Progressive Residual Mainstream Marginal Dynamic Stagnant Strong Weak Forward Backward Extensive Limited
  6. 6. Unpaid domestic work  Community self-help "Not-for-profit motivated help provided for and by friends, neighbours or other members of ones' community either on (1) and individual basis or (ii) through more organised collective groups and associations. More formal institutions charged with delivering services on a paid or statutory basis
  7. 7. Community Self-help Focuses on: People (and empowered relations with others) Identities The local The Real Negotiated space  Community self-help is the basis upon which communities survive, thrive and evolve  The moral foundations of society are built upon reciprocity  The dependency culture is corrosive of society  The state as a welfare provider is in crisis Burns et al (2004: 6) Community engagement is a The 'Natural', The Known, common coping strategy to achieve 'The Instinctive' the Familiar material, social and emotional ends
  8. 8. More desired/ mature Formal community participatory culture of engagement engagement "Few people go straight...(into) active engagement with their neighbourhood... Most are on a ladder of involvement, with simple acts of good neighbourliness at one end and a regular commitment with a formal or voluntary the other. (Home Office, 1999: 30) One-to-one reciprocity represents Informal community engagement inferior/ immature/ undeveloped cultures of engagement
  9. 9. Recognising the complex multi- layered 'reality' of the types of community engagement Acknowledging how participatory cultures vary spatially Illustrating how "mainstream" and "alternative" forms of engagement do not occupy discrete realms
  10. 10. Typology of forms of community engagement in the total social organisation of labour (TSOL) PAID 1. Formal paid job 2. Informal 3. Paid community 4. Paid household/ in public, private or employment exchanges family work voluntary sector e.g., wholly e.g., paid favours for e.g., paid exchanges e.g., formal job in undeclared waged friends, neighbours within the family voluntary employment; under- & acquaintances organisation declared formal employment (e.g., undeclared INFORMAL FORMAL overtime); informal self-employment 5. Formal unpaid 6. Informal unpaid 7. One-to-one 8. Unpaid domestic work in public, work in public, unpaid community work private & voluntary private & voluntary exchanges sector sector e.g., self- e.g., unpaid kinship provisioning of care e.g., unpaid work in e.g., unpaid exchange, within household formal community- children’s soccer neighbourly favour based group; unpaid coach without formal internship police check UNPAID
  11. 11. English Localities Survey (861 face-to face interviews, 1988- 2001, rural & urban, deprived & affluent, 44 tasks investigated)  Complex, multi-layered interpretations begin to emerge  Unpaid community engagement higher in affluent areas  Informal community engagement more popular in deprived areas  Formal groups rarely figure in material coping practices Deprived localities engage more in:  Informal unpaid activity (e.g. caring for groups of children on an unregistered basis)  Paid favours for kin, friends, neighbours and acquaintances  "Illegitimate" forms of community engagement Vast majority of literature on the voluntary and community sectors has concentrated almost exclusively on unpaid and legitimate forms of community engagement. Obvious policy implications arise from this…
  12. 12.  Rethinking community engagement as a spectrum of types  In deprived neighbourhoods there is a need to :  Nurture one-to-one aid  Legitimise those who are engaged in remunerated forms of community involvement (i.e. tally system needed when people conduct favours for each other)  Local Exchange and Trading Schemes (LETS)  Time Banks
  13. 13.  There is a great need to recognise how popular binary representations & conceptual frameworks are fundamental in:  Framing, de-legitimising and limiting debate and discussion  Overlooking the complex realities of our contemporary economic spaces and  Closing-down the possibility of imagining and harnessing other complex economic futures  In two important ways TSOL acts as a welcome and significant: • Movement away from the stable/ bounded binary hierarchical debates • Theoretical and policy-making framework for re-thinking the 'spaces' which we can constructively target for de- growth as well as providing welcome signs of a significant
  14. 14.  Fournier, V., 2008. Escaping form the economy: the politics of degrowth. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 28, 11/12, pp 528-545  Gibson-Graham, J. K. (2006) A diverse economy: rethinking economy and economic representation (available at last accessed 12.03.10)  Glucksmann, M., 2005. Shifting boundaries and interconnections: extending the "total social organisation of labour", The Sociological Review, 52, 2, pp. 19-36.  White, R.J. 2009. Explaining why the non-commodified sphere of mutual aid is so pervasive in the advanced economies: some case study evidence from an English City. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 29., Nos. 9/10, pp. 457-472  Williams, C.C., 2009. Unravelling cultures of community engagement: a geographically- nuanced approach, paper presented to the ESRC-funded seminar Re-mixing the economy of welfare: what is emerging beyond the market and state?, Nottingham Trent University, 11th November 2009  Williams, C.C. 2004. A Commodified World? Mapping the limits of capitalism, London: Zed  Williams, C.C. Round, J. and Rogers, P., 2007. Beyond the formal/ informal economy binary hierarchy, The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 402- 414
  15. 15. Colin C Williams Professor of Public Policy School of Management University of Sheffield E-mail: Richard J White Senior Lecturer in Economic Geography Sheffield Hallam University E-mail: