Retelling time in grassroots sustainable economy movements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article argues that grassroots sustainable economy movements re-tell (or re-story) time as a core part of their activities. Rather than conforming to proposals for more ‘sustainable times’ that are prominent within sustainable economies literatures, the process of retelling time represents complex efforts to coordinate between disparate values, meanings, actors and hierarchies. I initially set out a typology of ‘temporal counter-narratives’ which have been suggested will better support sustainability, namely (1) long-term thinking, (2) critiques of growth over time, (3) slowing down, (4) cyclical temporalities, and (5) increased discretionary time. Drawing on materials from a field philosophy project, I note some minimal take-up of these narratives. However, by looking at three specific cases I suggest that the binary thinking encouraged by sustainable times (e.g. fast/slow, short-term/long-term) does not capture the everyday challenges of building more sustainable livelihoods. Instead these cases highlight the importance of developing better understandings of how grassroots actors coordinate their activities across multiple kinds of times, and the opportunities and pitfalls that accompany these efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-53
Issue number1
Early online date1 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • sustainable economies
  • social time
  • slow
  • long-term thinking
  • field philosophy
  • grassroots innovations


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