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Subsistence Under Capitalism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Edited by James Murton, Dean Bavington and Carly Dokis

McGill-Queens University Press, 2016

This book brings together essays from diverse disciplines including history, anthropology, and economics that focus on the nature of subsistence in different contexts, geographies, and temporal periods. These essays offer a collective study of the ways in which local relationships to place and to nature have been repeatedly moved into the shadows by the drive to establish and expand capitalist markets. Yet, as many contributions to this collection show, subsistence practices have continued, in Canada and elsewhere, in spite of pressures to be subsumed under capitalism and managerialism. Contributions to this volume highlight the complex relationship between subsistence and capitalist markets, with fishing, hunting, and gathering practices existing alongside, in conjunction with, and in opposition to markets. The volume provides a reflection on how subsistence as an area of research by –as opposed to for—people can help us to understand and challenge the human relationship to nature under capitalism.

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