Commoning for Inclusion? Political Communities, Commons, Exclusion, Property and Socio-Natural Becomings

Citation:

Nightingale, Andrea J. 2019. “Commoning for Inclusion? Political Communities, Commons, Exclusion, Property and Socio-Natural Becomings.” International Journal of the Commons 13 (1): 16–35.

Author: Andrea J. Nightingale

Abstract:

As a response to the march of privatization and neoliberal individualism, the commons have recently re-emerged as an attractive alternative. In this article, I bring a feminist political ecology critique to the burgeoning literature on commoning to develop a conceptualisation of how political communities of commoning emerge through socionatural subjectification and affective relations. All commoning efforts involve a renegotiation of the (contested) political relationships through which everyday community affairs, production and exchange are organised and governed. Drawing on critical property studies, diverse economies, feminist theory and commoning literatures, this analysis critically explores the relationship between property and commoning to reveal how the commons emerge from the exercise of power. Central to my conceptualisation is that commoning is a set of practices and performances that foster new relations and subjectivities, but these relations are always contingent, ambivalent outcomes of the exercise of power. As such, commoning creates socionatural inclusions and exclusions, and any moment of coming together can be succeeded by new challenges and relations that un-common. I argue for the need to focus on doing  commoning, becoming in common, rather than seeking to cement property rights, relations of sharing and collective practices as the backbone of durable commoning efforts. Becoming in common then, is a partial, transitory becoming, one which needs to be (re)performed to remain stable over time and space.

Keywords: common property, environmental subjectivities, exclusion, feminist political ecology, inclusion, Nepal, political communities

Topics: Economies, Environment, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Privatization, Rights, Property Rights

Year: 2019

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