Re-embedding economies in ecologies: resilience building in more than human communities

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Abstract

The modern hyper-separation of economy from ecology has severed the ties that people have with environments and species that sustain life. A first step towards strengthening resilience at a human scale involves appreciating, caring for and repairing the longstanding ecological relationships that have supported life over the millennia. The capacity to appreciate these relationships has, however, been diminished by a utilitarian positioning of natural environments by economic science. Ecologists have gone further in capturing the interdependence of economies and ecologies with the concept of socio-ecological resilience. Of concern, however, is the persistence of a vision of an economy ordered by market determinations in which there is no role for ethical negotiation between humans and with the non-human world. This paper reframes economy–ecology relations, resituating humans within ecological communities and resituating non-humans in ethical terms. It advances the idea of community economies (as opposed to capitalist economies) and argues that these must be built if we are to sustain life in the Anthropocene. The argument is illustrated with reference to two construction projects situated in ‘Monsoon Asia’.

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Gibson-Graham, J. K., Hill, A., & Law, L. (2016). Re-embedding economies in ecologies: resilience building in more than human communities. Building Research and Information, 44(7), 703–716. https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2016.1213059

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