A brief note on “commoning”
I got taken to task the other day regarding my preference for the jargony-seeming construction “commoning” over the more usual “commons.” (The specific wording: “You say you hate bullshit, but ‘commoning’ seems like just so much bafflegab to me.”)
This brilliant 2010 interview with key thinker/doers Massimo de Angelis and Stavros Stavrides ought to go some distance toward explaining that preference; it’s lost none of its luster with the intervening years, despite everything that’s happened in the world over that period.
In the effort to define a space for living that is neither market nor state, De Angelis and Stavrides make it clear that the act of seizing and occupying it is the easy part. All the glamor and all the grandeur attend that first nervy moment when wirecutters meet chainlink. But precisely who gets saddled with the obligation of continuously remaking that space? Who’s left with the physical work of maintenance, the emotional labor of negotiation? It’s a process, not a reified thing, and that in turn seems to demand the gerund form, with its implication that this is something unfolding in time: commoning.
Yeah? No? Works for me.
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- Shaping Cities contribution, “Of Systems and Purposes: Emergent technology for the skeptical urbanist” 27 September 2018
- AG on Moscardi, now in FOAM 51 23 September 2018
- Four questions for the smart city 27 August 2018
- Asia Art Tours interview 26 July 2018
- “Against the smart city”: Impact metric, part II 25 July 2018