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Well-being in Alternative Economies: The Role of Shared Commitments in the Context of a Spatially-Extended Alternative Food Network

Watson, Forrest
Ekici, Ahmet
Alternative economies are built on shared commitments to improve subjects' well-being. Traditional commercial markets, premised upon growth driven by separate actors pursuing personal material gain, lead to exploitation of some actors and to negligible well-being gains for the rest. Through resocializing economic relations and expanding the recognition of interdependence among the actors in a marketing system, economic domination and exploitation can be mitigated. We define shared commitments as a choice of a course of action in common with others. We empirically demonstrate the existence of shared commitments through an in-depth study of a spatially extended alternative food network in Turkey. Finally, we offer an inductive model of how shared commitments can be developed between local and non-local actors to bring new economies into being and improve the well-being of consumers and producers, localities, markets, and society.