[URBANTH-L] CFP: 12th Biennial Conference of the Internat'l Assoc for the Study of Commons

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Wed Dec 19 12:50:22 EST 2007

Call for Papers:

for a special session which will be part of: 

The 12th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study
of Commons

"Governing shared resources: connecting local experience to global

University of Gloucestershire (Cheltenham), 14th -18th July 2008

Session Title: "Opening Space: Approaching commons through new
conceptualisations of places and landscapes"

Session outline:

"In my view, an adequate theory of the commons must be rooted in critical
understanding of the symbolic dimensions of the commons as well as its
history as a concrete referent for that symbolism"  (Kenneth R. Olwig,
"Commons & Landscape", 2003)

Much of the commons research agenda is understandably focused upon a range
of aspects clustered around, and linking between, notions of sustainability,
equity, governance, ecology, economy and justice (Laerhoven and Ostrom
2007). This focus is in part driven by the distinctive character of common
space in terms of nature, use, risk, loss and potential. The fate of the
commons (of whatever form) throws into sharp relief wider, often troubling
dynamics of nature-society-economy. 

However, As Olwig, suggests,  commons also need to be read as  places and
landscapes (of one kind or another) outside, or alongside, these key
'material concerns'. The very fact that they are commons brings particular
factors into their unfolding as living (cultural and ecological) spatial
entities. In this session we seek to consider commons through the more
unusual lenses of thinking them as places and landscapes. To venture out
onto one of the many commons remaining in the UK (for example)  is to
venture into places which have a very different FEEL to them - different
atmosphere, different sense of space, history and politics, in part, from
the literal openness to be found. Enclosure, so often taken for granted, and
the inevitable norm, is exposed by it absence. 

There has been significant developments in geographical (and wider social
science/humanities) approaches to places and landscapes in the last decade
or so. These have in part been driven by some notably geographers,
sociologists and anthropologists (e.g. David Harvey, Nigel Thrift, Doreen
Massey, John Law, Bruno Latour, Tim Ingold, Barbra Bender).  These
developments seek to deepen understandings of place and landscape (and life
within them) in the light of a whole raft of important
intellectual/theoretical trajectories often infused by broadly
poststructuralist and (related) science and technology studies,
phenomenologies, ideas of affect/embodiment, and so on. The preoccupations
of these approaches include embodiment, practice, process,  hybridity,
performativity, topology (networks), complexity and the blurring of a whole
set of dualisms such as social-natural, agency-structure, and
symbolic-concrete. (Thus there is a need to heed, but also develop Olwig's
call for symbolic-concrete analysis of commons).

These developments intermesh with new understandings of nature and
nature-society relations (e.g. Whatmore 2002, Hinchcliffe, 2007) which focus
on hybridity, difference and becoming. Some of the richness of these ideas
can also be found in innovative literatures of  place and landscape as in
the work of W. G. Sebald, Iain Sinclair, and others, which also deal in
history, memory, loss, longing of being-in-place. In these 'ecologies of
place' Thrift (1999) there is a deep interest in alternative spatial
becomings (e.g. Deleuzian notions of nomadism). Commons also offer great
potential in terms of thinking and doing space differently. 

In these new approaches places/landscapes are;

temporal processes with spatial implications (rather that easily
fixed, bounded spaces).

(thus) outcomes of topological connection rather that topographical
process (although there are move to combine these approaches (Wylie and Rose

always contingent, on the move, and uncertain.

sites of human practice which are complex interplays of culture,
economy, politics and also emotive, affective, collective and individual

sites of nature-culture hybridity in which multiple agencies,
temporalities (velocity and rhythm) and relational couplings constantly
rework in restless dynamism, yet which also produce stabilities around which
identities, cultures affective (dwelt) habits can 'gather'. 

the sites of  reinterpreted understandings of Heideggerian dwelling
(as in the key work of Tim Ingold). 

The session seeks to explore commons in these kinds of ways. Themes could

Common as other space
Psychogeography of commons
The emotional/affective geographies of commons
Topologies of commons
Commons as networks
Commons life in practice
Commons as hybrid processes of culture-nature
Commons as places
Commons as landscapes
Ethnographies and ethologies of common life
Alternative practices of research and narrative

This session will be part of - 

The 12th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study
of Commons

Governing shared resources: connecting local experience to global challenges

University of Gloucestershire (Cheltenham), 14th -18th July 2008



for more details

Deadline for abstracts THIS SESSION is 25 January 2008

Please circulate this CFP if you think you know of other who will be

Please send abstracts or questions to

ojones at glos.ac.uk


Owain Jones
mobile: 07871 572969
office: 01242 715315
home:   01761 472908

Senior Research Fellow
Countryside and Community Research Institute 
Dunholme Villa, Park Campus 
Cheltenham, GL50 2RH

ojones at glos.ac.uk

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