Professor Mary Mellor
Mary Mellor is a Social Science Professor at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne UK and Chair of its Sustainable Cities Research Institute.
She has a longstanding interest in alternative, green and feminist economics.
Her earliest work was on the history and potential of co-operatives
Her 1988 book (with John Stirling and Janet Hannah) Worker Co-operatives in Theory and Practice (Open University Press) was translated into several languages including Turkish and Japanese. This work is continuing with a study of social enterprise and social investment through community development finance initiatives.
She is also working on projects to enable financial inclusion, including FIN (Financial Inclusion Newcastle Ltd) and systems for social audit and accounting.
Her main work in the 1990s was the development of ecofeminist political economy which resulted in a number of publications including Breaking the Boundaries: Towards a Feminist Green Socialism (Virago 1992) and Feminism and Ecology (Polity Press) in 1997 together with an article in a special issue of Ecological Economics.
More recently she has been working on the political economy of money (with Frances Hutchinson and Wendy Olsen) including the publication of The Politics of Money: Towards Sustainability and Economic Democracy (Pluto, 2002).Mary Mellor is Professor in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Northumbria University in Newcastle where she is also Chair of the University's Sustainable Cities Research Institute. Her most recent books are The Politics of Money: Towards Sustainability And Economic Democracy (2002) Pluto Books (with Frances Hutchinson and Wendy Olsen) and Feminism and Ecology (1997) Polity Press and New York University Press. She has addressed audiences in many parts of the world on ecofeminism and women, work and the environment, including Canada, USA, Costa Rica, Japan, Australia, Portugal, Spain, Germany and Malta. Her work has been translated into many languages including Japanese, Spanish, Italian, German and Turkish.
Mary Mellor argues that ecofeminism has a major contribution to make to understanding the current destructive relationship between humanity and nonhuman nature. She describes her work as ecofeminist political economy, which sees women's work and lives as standing at the intersection of destructive economies and the natural world. Her concern is with women's position at the boundaries of economic systems. Ecofeminist political economy sees the externalisation and exploitation of women and nature as linked. For women, their marginalisation from what is identified as ‘the economy' is not accidental. While women are present in the economy in large numbers as consumers and employees, their lives as women is excluded. That is, the particular experience of being a woman in a gendered society. Central to this is women's work. Women's work is the work that has historically been associated with women, both inside and outside of the market place. Women's work is the basic work that makes other forms of activity possible. It secures the human body and the community. If a woman enters formal economic life she must leave her woman-life behind; childcare, domestic work, responsibility for elderly relatives, subsistence work, community activities. Economic life is therefore limited and partial in relationship to women's lives.
Green economics, Mary Mellor argues, can be strengthened by an understanding of ecofeminist political economy. Exploring the gendering of economic systems can provide new ways to think about economic systems and develop alternatives. The role of gender in the construction of economic systems means that ‘the economy' does not relate to the totality of human active labour and natural resources, what has been described as the real economy. What the modern economy represents is a boundary around limited activities and functions in which the process of valuing and male-ness are connected. The more work is valued, the more male-dominated it becomes. The more necessary and unremitting it is, the more female-dominated it becomes. One thing ‘the economy' does not represent is the provisioning of human society or the sustaining of the natural world. Mary Mellor argues that what is needed is an alternative way to construct a provisioning economy that does not exclude women's work or the natural world. To help construct an alternative, her recent writings have brought together ecofeminist economics, social economics and theories of money issue and circulation as the basis of a democratic, equitable and ecologically sustainable economy.
Mary Mellor October 2005
Address: School of Arts and Social Sciences Northumbria University Northumberland Building, Northumberland Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK
Sustainable Cities Research Institute, Northumbria University, 6 North Street East Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel 0044 (0) 191 2273255/3500
Mary Mellor August 2004.