P2P Foundation

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CFP: The Political Economy of the Commons (University of Helsinki Seminar)

via Tero Toivanen a href="mailto:tero.tapio.toivanen@gmail.com" target="_blank">tero.tapio.toivanen@gmail.com>

CFP: The Political Economy of the Commons (Seminar at the University of Helsinki 25th May 2013)

In the past two decades the commons has become a widely debated concept within various academic disciplines, such as environmental studies, social sciences, law and political economy. The commons has also become a central part of the vocabulary of contemporary social movements.

The commons is often seen as an alternative to ”the market economy”, as well as the capitalist mode of production and its core element, the commodity form. The abundant logics of network commons, apparent for instance in open code and varieties of peer-to-peer production, would thus stand in an antagonistic relationship to commodification of knowledge by means of copyrights and patents. It has also been argued, for example, that new commons can be identified when non-commodified social relations are strengthened through arrangements such as collaborative consumption and participatory budgeting.

On the other hand, it can be argued that the future of capitalist societies will depend on the appropriation of the production of the commons. In this case the commons is not seen so much as an alternative to but more as a consolidation of capitalism. For example the post-Fordist organisation of work can embrace autonomy, democracy and commons-based production, but it is also constantly coming up with new ways to capture and commodify the value produced from the commons.

We welcome papers that aim to engage with these already existing divergent debates on the commons, as well as ones proposing new critical perspectives on the political economy of the commons. We are also interested in questions on the relationships between the commons and democracy, social movements, nation states and world politics. Possible themes could include, but are not limited to, the following theoretical questions:

- What is / how to define the common/s?

- What is the relationship between enclosure and the commons?

- How are the concepts of value and the commons related?

- What distinguishes the commons from the public and the private?

- What are the historical specificities of commons-based production and how does it differ from the capitalist mode of production?

- How are the commons produced within networks, communities, metropolises or social movements?

- What is the meaning of the commons for the future of world politics?

- What is the role of the commons in building sustainable futures?

The event will take place as a part of Professor Teivo Teivainen’s research seminar on Global Capitalism on the 25th of May 2013. The keynote speech will be given by Professor Tere Vadén from Aalto University.

Abstracts of no more than 200 words should be sent to Tero Toivanen (tero.toivanen@helsinki.fi). The deadline for the abstracts is 18th of April 2013. The seminar is co-organised by the Department of Political and Economic Studies of the University of Helsinki and the Commons.fi online journal. 

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