Geography and Geology
Room 200C Sponsored by: Geography, Department of
Contact: Dr. David Porinchu Associate Professor 706-542-3058
"Constructing Non-Capitalism but Reproducing Capitalism? Colombian Lessons on Economic and Socio-Cultural Activism," Brian Burke, post-doctoral researcher for the Cowetta Listening Project in the geography department.Over the last 20 years, diverse alliances of Colombians have forged non-capitalist exchange systems as a grassroots response to structural violence, social disintegration, and alienation. Through barter and local currencies, they hope to create a more just economic system and foster social relations based on trust and solidarity. Drawing on more than a year of collaborative research with barter activists in Medellín, this presentation will focus on what Dr. Burke sees as one of the principal contradictions in barter activism: a tension between organizers’ strong anti-capitalist principles and the “pragmatic pluralism” that characterizes conventional economic practice and economic subjectivities. Dr. Burke will discuss what happens when activists try to erect boundaries around barter, to maintain its purity in the face of a threatening capitalism, and how these strategies lead to the paradoxical outcome of weakening non-capitalism. Is it possible that non-capitalist activism can be enriched by engagement with capitalism?