The economy is dead. Long live the economy? Towards an anthropology of radical entrepreneurship 
James Debowski (Australian National University)
Chancellery Building, A1-017
Thursday 6 December, 9:00-10:30 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

Solidarity economies, cooperation, and anti- and non-capitalist entrepreneurship have become an important part of mainstream discussions on economic and community development. What can anthropology offer to the study and practice of alternative and radical entrepreneurship?

Long Abstract

In the past decade, social and solidarity economies, cooperation, and diverse forms of anti- and non-capitalist entrepreneurship have emerged within mainstream discussions around economic and community-development. These patterns mark the spectre of alternative possibilities within an age of precarity and dwindling faith in once-trusted institutions. Globally, well-funded and highly respected organizations are being drawn towards studying, participating in and organizing alternative economic and social fields. The question of 'what can anthropologists offer' to understandings of a radical, alternative entrepreneurship is increasingly pressing.

Anthropology's history is deeply intertwined with critiques of capitalism. Anthropologists' toolkits contain a plethora of resources for studying business, entrepreneurs and value-making within and under capitalism. What can we offer now that large institutions demonstrate willingness to not only discuss capitalism but to actively promote and facilitate alternatives? How can anthropologists participate in the next step; towards developing and mobilizing knowledge and practice in radical, alternative entrepreneurship?

This panel invites researchers and practitioners who are thinking and working with radical, anti- and non-capitalist entrepreneurs to share their reflections and experiences. Collectively, we ask, what might an anthropology of radical entrepreneurship look like? How might anthropologists advance this field without retracing their discipline's colonial legacy? How can ethnographic knowledge be put to use here, and what challenges may be encountered?

Accepted papers: