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The Property Commons is a concept that captures the relationship between property rights regimes and power. Making this link explicit brings to light the social nature of ownership and entitlements in society. It also highlights the historical formation of different kinds of belonging that materialize in sovereignty claims, resource distribution policies, and creation stories.
The concept of the Property Commons also raises a series of questions. What are the commons and what is the significance of this concept today? How do property regimes foreclose or create possibilities for commons to emerge and thrive? How can we push through the nostalgic and rhetorical uses of the term “commons”? How can we explore instead those forms of collective social and economic organization that (re)appropriate resources with the goal of creating free/autonomous communities? Can commoning describe anti-authoritarian organizing? Could commoning build strong social movements out of the alienated social justice work of individuals and organizations? Is the concept of the commons useful to decolonization and gender struggles? What are the roles of public space and social centres in respect to commoning ethics, such as mutuality, reliability, co-operation and respect?
The imperative behind this research theme is to raise questions about the fields of power around property rights regimes. But the significance of the study of Property Commons is to open up a space to understand the ways that common property systems can destabilize global capitalist accumulation.
Related Projects and Initiatives
- Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage, a SSHRC-funded MCRI project based at SFU and supported by POLIS
- Property Taskforce, a past POLIS Project that explored the barriers private property regimes pose to ecological governance
- The Commons Conference, co-sponsored by POLIS in April 2006 as part of the Forum on Privatization and the Public
- “Property, Power, Freedom” by Shiri Pasternak (Z Mag, 2006)
- A Report on the Status of Privatization and the Public Domain by Andrew Wender (2006)
Page last updated: 02/03/2013