Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association
Washington, D.C., November 29 – December 3, 2017
Urban Ethnographies of Commoning
This panel aims to bring into conversation ethnographic case studies on forms of urban living created through acts of commoning –spaces imagined and lived as urban commons, belonging to no one and everyone.
We aim to reflect upon urban inhabitants’ commoning practices that produce and reproduce life in the city for the sake of cultivating a new ethos to sustain livelihoods and affirm communal instincts beyond motivations of profit, competition, and wealth spared for individual well-being at the expense of others. We would like to explore everyday cultures of commoning that rely on alternative socio-spatial relations. It is our aim to take a close look at urban inhabitants’ quotidian practices, be they work, reproductive labor, or leisure and festivity, that make our spaces in common despite (and in the midst of) capitalist social relationships.
Everyday acts of commoning materialize within the cracks of the capitalist system and potentially create new life-forms. We treasure such practices of commoning, for they not only reveal urban inhabitants’ capacity to make the city but they also imply a radical will to remake ourselves and our lives by way of reorganizing our everyday lives, living spaces, redefining forms of production and labor, developing new means of livelihood, and in turn reminding us every day that we all inhabit a common life-world.
We would like to highlight both achievements and drawbacks. We dwell on the emancipatory potentials of commoning practices, as well as the incomplete or conflicting processes and incompatibilities they inhabit. We focus on cases of urban commoning while keeping an eye on their continuous enclosures.
What are some of the ways in which we can imagine and sustain our ongoing everyday lives as a locus of commoning? What kinds of sensibilities and perspectives (for instance a feminist perspective) can we incorporate into our understanding of urban commons?
This panel aims to discuss these questions by bringing together ethnographic case studies from different urban contexts, to discuss alternative forms of production, consumption, exchange, and sociality, all relying on practices of commoning as their major resource.
We are calling for empirically informed papers that offer refreshing perspectives on the following:
* Precarity and resistance
* Solidarity economies
* Commoning arts & culture in the city
* Commoning and law
* Commoning and affective labor in the city
* Experiences of commoning urban property
* Sustainable urban life