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Commoning: Visions, Resources, Practices


Commoning practices have in recent years attracted increasing attention, also outside academia, as a potential solution to many of the problems facing the world today – social, political, and environmental – and as political program for a common future based on principles of solidarity, justice, equality, and sustainability. Within academia, commoning has been treated as a new paradigm for rethinking the (global) economy, north-south and south-south relations, resource access and environmental justice, and as a transformative practice emphasizing participation, collaboration and well-being. Commoning constitutes a critique of and envisions alternatives to the ongoing privatization of economic, political, knowledge and ecological resources by transnational corporations. It is the tendency of the commons to resist neoliberal regimes of management and control that generates new emancipatory and participatory possibilities.

Being ‚in common‘ here forms the basis for re-imagining sociality, solidarity and citizenship outside the frameworks of community and nation, and beyond identity markers that emphasize sameness or difference. The commons may offer alternative modes of access and inclusion that defy conventional legal frameworks of ownership and dominant economic values of equivalence. Nonetheless, zones of enclosure and exclusion may arise at the boundaries and fringes of common projects. The research area shall explore these three interlinked aspects of:

(1) commoning practices

(2) the commons

(3) states of being in common

We emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of debates on commoning, the strong participation of scholars from the Global South, and the role of indigenous and marginalized groups in spearheading commoning practices, concepts, and knowledge. Our approach to commoning highlights relations, values, and future-oriented creativity. Socialities, infrastructures, knowledge/arts/design, ecologies, and human economies are possible fields or foci to study commoning processes, as are the local/translocal, rural/urban spatial dimensions of the commons.