Thursday, April 16, 2009

Call for Papers: "The New Cooperativism"

Affinities: A Journal of Radical Theory, Culture, and Action

Deadline for submissions: 1 June 2009

Issue editor: Marcelo Vieta (

Since at least the mid 19th century, cooperative modes of organizing social and economic life have proved promising alternatives to capitalist norms of production and distribution. These have included worker, agricultural, and consumer coops; mutual societies; credit unions; cooperative daycares and educational initiatives; artist-run centres; health care coops; and other forms of service-oriented cooperatives controlled and co-owned by their members. Despite the entrenchment of the neoliberal global order in the past four decades, cooperative practices and values that both challenge the neoliberal status quo and create alternatives to it have returned in recent years–both within and beyond the cooperative movement.

Examples of contemporary groups practicing both reclaimed and new cooperative values of autonomy, direct-democracy, self-reliance, equity, and solidarity include Brazil’s landless peasants’ movements, Argentina’s worker-recuperated enterprises, the Zapatistas and other indigenous autonomist movements around the world, North America’s intentional communities and housing cooperatives, and Europe’s myriad autonomous social centres and squats. We might call these experiments that both resist neoliberal enclosure yet also prefigure different forms of economic organization the new cooperativism. What is the genealogy of these new cooperative movements? What do these new yet historical-materially rooted experiments in collectivity, cooperation, and cooperativism look like? Where are they to be found within today’s neoliberal global reality?

Affinities: A Journal of Radical Theory, Culture, and Action invites cooperative practitioners, members of artist collectives, activists engaged in affinity groups, and academics working within anarchism, Marxisms, critical theory, indigenism, feminism, or other traditions, to submit either theoretical papers or case studies that analyze and demonstrate how cooperation, cooperativism, or cooperatives are being re-imagined by groups committed to sustainable alternatives to neoliberalism and the capitalist nation-state.

Broad questions that might be taken up include:

• What promising cooperative experiments exist today that both challenge the state and corporate models and prefigure another economic reality—another possible world?
• What does the new cooperativism look like? How are contemporary groups, movements, and communities struggling to rethink alternatives to the current economic order around the globe re-imagining economic and creative life through the concept of cooperativism and the practices of cooperation? That is, how are they actually practicing cooperative forms of production?
• How can the new cooperativism be theorized? For example, what does it mean to reorganize life (productive, economic, artistic, and creative life) cooperatively, both within and despite our current neoliberal conjuncture?
• Can cooperatives help reconfigure creative, economic, and productive life in more sustainable, more equitable, less racist, less hetero-sexist, and more directly democratic realities?
• How are the practices of the newest cooperatives engaged in the (co)production and (co)invention of “solidarity economies” or, as J.K. Gibson-Graham terms it, “community economies” that exist beyond the productivist and ethically bankrupt standards of “capitalocentrism”?
• As with the “coming communities,” can we equally speak of the “coming cooperative economies”?
• How is self-management (autogestión) being (re)conceptualized within the new cooperativism?
• What do networks of economic solidarity look like today, where are they located, and how do they embody the values of new cooperativism?

Other concepts and practices that may also be taken up include, but are certainly not limited to:
• Mutual aid and the new cooperativism
• Horizontalism
• Subsidiarity and the new cooperativism
• Associated labour
• The new-cooperativism and self-reliance
• Redistributive surplus
• The new cooperativism and DIY communities
• New communication technologies and the new cooperativism

Format and Deadlines

• Deadline for submissions: 1 June 2009
• Submissions can be made via the journal website at Information on the submission process and formatting requirements are available on the site.
• Please direct any further inquiries to the issue editor: Marcelo Vieta (

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