Contesting exclusion: Solidarity spaces and changing political subjectivities in Buenos Aires
Publication date: Available online 12 November 2018
Author(s): Mónica Farías
The literature on solidarity economies deconstructs totalizing accounts of global capitalism, opening space for a politics of economic possibility beyond, outside, but also within the capitalist norm. Solidarity economies are spaces of “becoming,” where subjectivities can be reworked in ways that challenge dominant discourses and governmental practices. In this paper, I draw on fieldwork conducted in an asamblea popular and its soup kitchen in Buenos Aires that works for and with homeless people in the local community to call attention to the interrelation between space and subjectivity. Asambleas populares/barriales are neighborhood-based political organizations that emerged during the socioeconomic and political crisis of 2001–2002 in Argentina, and they have the potential to disrupt normative views about social problems in ways that resubjectify people. I draw on relational poverty theory to show how the subject-making power of solidarity spaces articulate with, and at the same time challenges, hegemonic economic imaginaries that exclude and de-value certain subjects. Through this case, I argue that there is a close and necessary relationship between imagining and enacting solidarity and reconceptualizing those who are devalued and deemed “excess” to the capitalist economy.