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Subsistence Under Capitalism

Prof co-edits essays on relegation of local food systems to 'shadows'

Research | Books at Memorial

The complex relationship between subsistence practices and formal markets should be a growing matter of concern for those uneasy with the stark contrast between commercial and local food systems, especially since self-provisioning has never been limited to the margins.

In fact, subsistence occupies a central space in local and global economies and networks.

Bringing together essays from diverse disciplines to reflect on the meaning of subsistence in theory and in practice, in historical and contemporary contexts, in Canada and beyond, Subsistence Under Capitalism is a collective study of the ways in which local food systems have been relegated to the shadows by the drive to establish and expand capitalist markets.

Subsistence Under Capitalism is co-edited by Dr. Dean Bavington, associate professor of geography at Memorial University, and Dr. James Murton, associate professor of history, Nipissing University, and Dr. Carly Dokis, assistant professor, Nipissing University.

Dr. Dean Bavington
Dr. Dean Bavington
Photo: Chris Hammond

Considering fishing, farming and other forms of subsistence provisioning, the essays in this volume document the persistence of these practices despite capitalist government policies that actively seek to subsume them. Presenting viable alternatives to capitalist production and exchange, the contributors explain the critical interplay between politics, local provisioning and the ultimate survival of society.

Dr. Sarah Martin, assistant professor, Department of Political Science at Memorial, contributed an essay titled The Seeds of Calculability: The Home Farms Experiment On and Off the Books.

Subsistence under Capitalism is published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. For more on Subsistence Under Capitalism, please visit here.