Making Transformative Geographies

Lessons from Stuttgart's Community Economy

In the light of social and environmental unsustainability and injustice, the continuing attachment to the idea that a growth-based economy is reconcilable with human prosperity and ecological limits seems increasingly implausible. Tracing and dissecting the complexities of social change, »Making Transformative Geographies« speaks about the development of visions, alternatives, and strategies for a radical transformation beyond accumulation and growth. Covering an empirical sample of 24 eco-social organizations, projects, and groupings in the city of Stuttgart (Germany), the book drills down into the social, spatial, and strategic dimensions of transformation. It advances a conceptually and empirically grounded assessment of the possibilities and limitations of community activism and civic engagement for shifting transformative geographies towards a degrowth trajectory.

€30.00 * $ 35.00 *

2020-06-08, 340 pages
ISBN: 978-3-8376-5140-9

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Benedikt Schmid

Benedikt Schmid, Universität Freiburg, Deutschland

1. Why did You chose this topic?

The incredible situation that we, as global community, in particular the so called ›Global North‹, continue down the trajectory of growth in denial of all that we know about its social and ecological consequences made me read and think about potential pathways out. I am not necessarily an optimist, but the development of bottom-up agency through strategic organizing appears to be the most compelling answer to the deepening spiral of vested interests, institutional inertia, and general acceptance.

2. What new perspectives does your book offer?

The book offers a comprehensive view on what dimensions such a change from below would entail. It is very sympathetic to the various accounts of possible alternatives and individual success stories but goes one step further in detailing how such a transformation from below could unfold. The book takes on the challenge of including a broad range of aspects that are at play and, one step at a time, develops a strategic perspective on the development of bottom-up agency.

3. What makes your topic relevant for current research debates?

Organizing around community initiatives and eco-social enterprises has taken on a remarkable dynamic in recent years. Considering the continuing disregard of social and ecological issues in favor of money and profits, there needs to be much investigation what forms of organizing are possible, how they can be developed and what kind of strategies are needed that take on the organizations and institutions that capitalize on our communities and ecosystems. The book is a small contribution to this debate.

4. Choose one person you would like to discuss your book with!

I am fascinated by the different ways people cope with the absurdity and hypocrisy of the ›Age of Capital‹ that range from a kind of blind hope to fatalism and cynicism. I close the book with a position that I refer to as ›skeptical hope‹. As sharp observer and cynical commentator of consumer capitalism who has basically given up hope that social change is possible, I would have enjoyed to discuss the book's perspective with the late George Carlin.

Your book summary in one sentence:

An exploration and critical discussion of the possibilities and strategies of bottom-up social change towards just and sustainable futures.

Benedikt Schmid
Book title
Making Transformative Geographies Lessons from Stuttgart's Community Economy
transcript Verlag
kart., Dispersionsbindung, 18 SW-Abbildungen
Commodity Group
SOC015000 SOC026000
Release date
Gesellschaft, Wirtschaft, Raum
Geography, Social Sciences
Sustainability, Transformation, Ecological Economics, Activism, Critical Theory, Economy, Space, Society, Social Geography, Economic Sociology, Neoliberalism, Geography

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