Mutualism as market practice: An examination of market performativity in the context of anarchism and its implications for post-capitalist politics

Javier Lloveras, Gary Warnaby, Lee Quinn

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Abstract

This article interrogates the performative effects of mutualist ideas in the context of market-making. Mutualism is a variety of anarchism associated with the work of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who argued for the centrality of market exchanges and mutual credit as a means for emancipating workers from capitalist exploitation. The discussion is informed by an ethnographic inquiry within a Local Exchange Trading System in Spain – the Moneda Social Puma – which illustrates how actors put mutualist ideas to work. This research makes three contributions: first, it frames a view of market multiplicity and plasticity that broadens the current scope of market studies beyond a managerialist focus. Second, it reveals how actors mobilise anarchist theories to shape – rather than escape – markets. Third, this work elucidates how actors negotiate and stabilise conflicting forms of valuation as mutualist ideas are implemented. In particular, we draw attention to a set of infrastructural practices and mutual credit arrangements whereby the market is cooperatively managed as a common. We conclude by reflecting on the implications of our work for extant debates concerning post-capitalist politics, markets and anarchism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-249
Number of pages21
JournalMarketing Theory
Volume20
Issue number3
Early online date3 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

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Keywords

  • Activism
  • LETS
  • alternative markets
  • anarchism
  • commons
  • market practices
  • mutualism
  • performativity
  • post-capitalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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