Special Section: Experimental and speculative political ecologies edited by Dylan M. Harris and Dan Santos

Examining the role of minor experiments in French and Catalan eco-communities: Between critique and post-capitalist world-building

Author: Elisa Schramm orcid logo (University of Vigo)

  • Examining the role of minor experiments in French and Catalan eco-communities: Between critique and post-capitalist world-building

    Special Section: Experimental and speculative political ecologies edited by Dylan M. Harris and Dan Santos

    Examining the role of minor experiments in French and Catalan eco-communities: Between critique and post-capitalist world-building

    Author:

Abstract

This article explores the role of experiments in eco-communities in Southwest France and Catalonia and focuses in particular on the production of post-capitalist natures in experiments with plants. Drawing on Deleuze & Guattari, it first orders experimental practices (around irrigation) in terms of a spectrum from 'minor' to 'major', emphasizing in particular the generativity of 'minor experimentation' that is often exploratory, tentative, and ambiguous. It secondly argues that it is crucial to consider how experimental practices relate to other non-experimental practices on-site, highlighting the relationship between minor experiments evolving into 'majoritized' or stabilized interventions, that may be subject to processes of 'scaling up.' Thirdly, it emphasizes the importance of approaching minor experiments through a careful attention to 'difference' that emerges, rather than directly critiquing such experiments. By contrast, the outgrowth of such experiments merits critical examination, according to more clearly defined, external yardsticks, by which political ecological scholarship can critically adjudicate the value of such experiments. The article does so by examining the ways in which experiments may be 'captured' by capitalist logics, hoping to positively contribute to a political ecology of experiments that fruitfully combines critique with more positive and hopeful experimentation.

Keywords: experiment, minor, critique, post-capitalism, human-plant relations

How to Cite:

Schramm, E., (2023) “Examining the role of minor experiments in French and Catalan eco-communities: Between critique and post-capitalist world-building”, Journal of Political Ecology 30(1), 558–580. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/jpe.5098

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Funding

  • European Research Council, PROSPERA (grant 947713)

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Published on
04 Sep 2023
Peer Reviewed