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.
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- alternative markets
- market practices
ASJC Scopus subject areas