Multispecies economic justice: property in focus

Property and ownership are at the core of global crises so how can we rethink our relationship with property and redistribute it in the interests of justice and the flourishing of life?

Conceptions of ‘property’ in the European enlightenment tradition were interconnected with the colonial and settler colonial projects of dispossession, theft and resource extraction. Forms of 'possessive' liberal individualism arguably shape contemporary political demands and the way individuals see themselves and their rights. Property is central to the capitalist economic system, which is defined by the subsumption of almost everything as ‘property’, production processes which lead to the expansion and mass accumulation of commodities for surplus, and the fundamentally unequal distribution of property. Property is arguably at the core of our global environmental crises, which have placed the survival of the planetary systems which support life in antagonistic relation with the private property rights of the few.

Arguably, decades of neoliberal restructuring and the decline of labour and progressive social movements have prevented active conversations on the place of property within our economies. However, recent movements against colonialism, capitalism and environmental devastation have created unique opportunities to consider how property can be redistributed or socially shared in the interests of justice and the flourishing of life. 

This seminar brings together a panel of experts in a conversation to consider the place of property within the economies and societies we need to build together in the future.

This event was held online on Wednesday 23 November 2022.

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Rosemary-Claire Collard is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, Canada. A political ecologist and economic geographer by training, she primarily draws on feminist political economy, animal studies and feminist science studies, combined with primary fieldwork and multispecies methodologies. Rosemary-Claire is author of Animal Traffic: Lively Capital in the Global Exotic Pet Trade (2020, Duke UP) and she is co-editor with Kathryn Gillespie of Critical Animal Geographies: Politics, Intersections and Hierarchies in a Multispecies World (2015, Routledge).

Jessica Dempsey is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, The University of British Columbia, Canada. Jessica's research centres around the political ecologies of biodiversity conservation at the intersection of environmentalism, social justice and political economy. Jessica is author of Enterprising Nature: Economics, Markets, and Finance in Global Biodiversity Politics (2016, Wiley).

Christine Winter is Senior Lecturer in environmental, climate change, multispecies and indigenous politics. Her research focuses on the ways in which academic political theory, and particularly theories of justice, continue to perpetuate injustice for some people (and more specifically for Māori) and the environment. Dr Winter is author of Subjects of Intergenerational Justice: Indigenous Philosophy, the Environment and Relationships (2021, Routledge).

Rebecca Pearse is Lecturer in the School of Sociology and the Fenner School of Environment & Society, Australian National University. Rebecca's research explores inequalities  and how environmental policy can contribute to building a fair and ecologically abundant world. Rebecca is author of Pricing Carbon in Australia: Contestation, the State and Market Failure (2018, Earthscan / Routledge), co-author with Goodman et al of Beyond the Coal Rush: A Turning Point for Global Energy and Climate Policy? (2020, Cambridge UP) and  co-author with Raewyn Connell, of the 3rd edition of Gender: In World Perspective (2015, Polity).

Dinesh Wadiwel is Associate Professor in the Discipline of Sociology and Criminology, The University of Sydney. Dinesh has a background in social and political theory, with research interests in theories of violence, critical animal studies and disability rights. Dinesh is author The War against Animals (2015, Brill) and the forthcoming Animals and Capital (2023, Edinburgh UP). He is also co-editor, with Matthew Chrulew, of Foucault and Animals (2016, Brill).

Header image: Mackay, Queensland, Australia. By Josh Withers via Unsplash.


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