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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Communal Labor in Ecovillages: Contradictions, Impasses, and Possibilities within the Notion of Self-sufficiency

Our goal is to outline the concept of communal labor in ecovillages of Brazil. To do that, we considered three elements: (1) political orientation for self-sufficiency; (2) technical-productive orientation in self-managed work and in plural economic practices; and (3) socio-environmental orientation centered on the recovery of biodiversity. We collected data in four ecovillages for 49 days, through a methodological path of inspiration ethnography with fieldnote and participant observation, followed by remote monitoring for 22 months. Our option was for flexible procedure to collect complex dynamics of management and routines of life by dialogues between researchers and informants. The results show that communal labor emerged in ecovillages as a resistance to market-centric society, although dependent on it incidentally. If, on the one hand, there are tensions and contradictions, on the other they reveal a strong organizational practice that shows possibilities and ways of redefining the relationships among human beings, and between collective organizations and ecosystems, by mitigating elements of alienation on values that inspire human emancipation.

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