Our current focus on economic growth has put the earth’s systems under increasing pressure. Tackling climate change requires more than shifting consumption habits or developing new technologies, it requires rethinking how we live together. Capitalism has also failed to live up to the promise of providing a good standard of living for everyone, and is instead marked by growing inequality.
There are already grassroots organisations, solidarity economies, social enterprises and a whole range of community organisations are exploring alternatives. My research is interested in groups like this, that are not focused on simply growing the economy, but exploring ways to live in more just and sustainable ways. As well as putting this into practice, they are also articulating different narratives about what a more hopeful future could like.
I use qualitative methods to understand how these groups work. How do they operate in more democratic ways? How do they deal with disagreement and change? What enables them and what constrains them? Finally, I ask how small groups with diverse approaches can transform the economic system more broadly.