Toward simultaneous liberation: The potential for community land trusts to facilitate socially reproductive practices

Authors: Olivia R Williams*, Augustana College, Richard Kruger, Clark University, Joseph Pierce, University of Oaklahoma, James DeFilippis, Rutgers University, Deborah G Martin, Clark University
Topics: Urban Geography, Gender, Social Theory
Keywords: community land trust, commoning, urban geography, decommodification, alternative economies, feminist geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 4:00 PM / 5:40 PM
Room: Studio 9, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Scholars of feminist economics and feminist geography have long noted the exclusion and devaluation of unpaid labor in formal capitalist markets. Socially reproductive work, which might involve volunteer community building and ecologically regenerative practices, often involves feminized unpaid labor. Making time and space for these unpaid and underpaid socially reproductive practices remains difficult for many individuals, but these practices can be supported through alternative/community/solidarity economies that decommoditize various aspects of the traditional market. The partial decommodification of land through Community land trusts (CLTs), for example, can support low income people who wish to spend less time at traditional jobs and more time on social reproduction through volunteer work. In this way, the cultivation of socially reproductive practices can intersect with the transformation of urban property, where decommodification of labor coincides with the decommodification of land, offering simultaneous liberation from structural constraints in both sectors of the economy. Interviews of CLT homeowners and staff from eight CLTs in Minnesota demonstrates the potential transformative intersection of the urban environment and socially reproductive work. In practice, however, the liberatory potential of CLTs is underplayed, as they are often promoted and understood simply as another affordable housing option, delinked from politically transformative or socially reproductive practices.

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