Turning the World Right Side Up

Science, Community and Democracy

By John Kearney and Patrick Kerans  

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The focus of this book is on the un-sustainability of the system that economists, in the name of science, have foisted upon society. Corporations and the economists who act as their apologists, say the authors, are the cultural driving force in contemporary society. They are reductionists: they are locked into a single-minded pursuit of one narrow facet of human well-being. Framing their study within an analysis of contemporary neoliberalism, the authors explore new directions leading to a broad grassroots based democracy. Kerans and Kearney argue that the decline of democracy is rooted in the rule of experts and the domination of scientific reductionism. They seek a new cultural diversity and point out that it is in communities and neighbourhoods at the grassroots where the knowledge for a new world is located. The authors outline an alternative vision for society where people democratically participate in the decision-making and policy formation that affect their lives.

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  • Foreword
  • Part One: The End of the Road?
  • Introduction
  • Inequality and Democracy
  • Economists and Canadian Democracy
  • Consumerism and Democracy
  • An Unsustainable System
  • Part Two: Reductionism and Beyond Introduction
  • Elegant Models and Messy Reality
  • Knowledge as Property
  • Complexity Regained
  • Human Interdependence
  • Diversity and Inequality
  • Diversity and Equality
  • Part Three: Turning the World Right-Side Up
  • Talking to Your Neighbour
  • Neighbourhood
  • Resources: Food as a Rallying Point
  • Resources: Simplicity and Sustainability
  • A New Politics: Canadian Initiatives
  • A New Politics: Community and Governance
  • Afterword
  • Bibliography
  • Index


  • John Kearney

    Dr. John F. Kearney joined the University of New Brunswick as Adjunct Professor in 2007. He has a distinguished record in applied anthropology, consulting, community development and organization building in the fishing sector in Canada and overseas Publications. He is involved in a coastal integrated management project with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and was co-applicant with Dr. Wiber and Dr. Tony Charles on several recent grants from SSHRC, including the current CURA project. He serves or has served on many national and international fisheries organizations, including the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters, the Canadian Oceans Caucus, the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, the World Forum of Fisher People, and many regional Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s management committees. In the academic setting, he was program director at St. Francis Xavier University for the Center for Community-Based Management and taught for six years in the Coady International Institute at STFX. His academic strengths lie in the theory of community-based management of natural resources, governance and social justice, and comparative fisheries management regimes.

  • Patrick Kerans

    Patrick Kerans, now retired, taught social policy courses at Dalhousie and other universities for over thirty years and authored many professional books and articles. He was active in anti-poverty organizations both locally and nationally.

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