Reintegrating economy, society, and environment for cooperative futures: Polanyi, Marx, and food sovereignty

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Abstract

This paper attempts to ‘put in their place’ (Sum and Jessop 2013) some key issues that frame the question of ‘the more-than-economic dimensions of co-operation’. In particular, it asks why capitalism deconstructs socio-natural reality into the ‘common-sense’ and discrete institutional spheres of ‘economy’, ‘society’ and ‘environment’, an institutional constellation in which the ‘economy’ is usually afforded pre-eminence. Building on this, the paper further asks: why does the organization of society around the commodity form, and specifically around the generalization of the commodity form to labour-power that is the defining feature of capitalism, have the tendential effect of fragmenting, atomizing, and marginalizing social collectivities and cooperative behaviour? This question is answered through examination of the work of Polanyi and Marx, arguing that it is the latter who is best able to explain the nature and dynamics of capitalism, and its relationship to cooperative activity. The paper elaborates the Marxian approach and suggests strong linkages with the ‘radical’ fraction of the food sovereignty movement. The latter, like Marx, appears to invoke unconstrained cooperation as ‘actual’ autonomy; the paper asks what the political and ecological prerequisites for the realization of this social imaginary might be.

Publisher Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Rural Studies. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Rural Studies, [53, (2017)] DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.12.004

© 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-334
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Volume53
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Rural Studies. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Rural Studies, [53, (2017)] DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.12.004

© 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Keywords

  • Cooperation
  • Polanyi
  • Marx
  • Food sovereignty
  • Political ecology

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