Lexicon Keyword Conversation 4

The fourth Lexicon of Commodity Frontiers keyword conversation about “commons” took place on 12 October 2022.

In a time of multiple planetary crises, the “commons” – the communitarian, the communal – offer a concrete source of theories and practices of cooperation that resist common nostalgic tropes and essentialist framings. From social movements and childcare to the Amazon forest and the global food system, we discuss the “commons” as a strategy and framework for (re)producing social relations beyond–and in tension with–advancing commodity frontiers.

Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar (Autonomous University of Puebla, Mexico) presented an overture from her work on the concept of commons/lo(s) común(es), followed by commentary offered by Manuela Zechner (University of Jena, Germany), José Luis Vivero Pol (World Food Programme, Cameroon), and Deborah Delgado Pugley (Catholic University of Peru, Peru). We then opened the floor to a discussion with the audience.

Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar is a Mexican mathematician, philosopher and sociologist who has spent most of her life between Bolivia and Mexico, involving herself in various community, indigenous, popular and feminist struggles in different countries of the continent. She currently lives on her salary as a professor-researcher at the Autonomous University of Puebla, where she is part of the Research Program “Community frameworks and political forms.” She is very proud of the colleagues whom she accompanies in their research and in their development paths.

Manuela Zechner is a researcher, facilitator, and artist. She currently works at the intersections of feminism, ecology, and commons – having recently co-founded the Common Ecologies School, co-producing the Earthcare Fieldcast, and having recently published “Commoning Care & Collective Power: Childcare Commons and the Micropolitics of Municipalism” (Transversal Texts). Manu loves facilitating collective processes across grassroots movements, community, culture, and educational contexts. She runs the Future Archive since 2005.

José Luis Vivero Pol is an anti-hunger activist, agricultural engineer, PhD Research Fellow at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, and currently programme leader of the World Food Programme in Cameroon. Through his research and policy work in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Caucasus, he advocates for treating food as commons. He is co-author of the Routledge Handbook of Food as a Commons.

Deborah Delgado is a Sociologist who specializes in environmental and climate policies and socio-ecological analysis. She has extensive experience with policies and programs for the Amazon Basin, linked to the forestry sector, sustainable energy transition, and the political involvement of indigenous peoples. Her work has an intersectional and decolonial approach. She has worked directly for indigenous organizations at the PanAmazonian, national and subnational level in Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. She is an Associate Professor at the Catholic University of Peru where she directs the MA in Water Resources Management, and board member of the International Association for the Studies of the Commons (IASC).

Overture text:

Español: Gutiérrez Aguilar, R., & Salazar Lohman, H. (2019). Reproducción comunitaria de la vida. Pensando la transformación social en el presente. In VVAA (Eds.), Producir lo común. Entramados comunitarios y luchas por la vida (pp. 21–44). Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños. (Creative Commons)

English (unofficial translation only made with the purpose of facilitating access for non-Spanish readers): Gutiérrez Aguilar, R., & Salazar Lohman, H. (2019). Communitarian reproduction of life. Thinking social transformation in the present. In Various authors (Eds.), Producing the common. Communitarian weavings and struggles for life (pp. 21-44). Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños.

Other literature and materials:

The Common Ecologies platform, including courses on Earthcare struggles

The Future Natures initiative

Gutiérrez Aguilar, R., Linsalata, L., & Navarro Trujillo, M. L. (2016). Producing the Common and Reproducing Life: Keys Towards Rethinking the Political. In A. C. Dinerstein (Ed.), Social Sciences for an Other Politics. Women Theorizing Without Parachutes. (pp. 79–92). Palgrave Macmillan.

Vivero Pol, J.L., Ferrando, T., De Schutter, O., Mattei, U. (2018). Routledge Handbook of Food as a Commons. Routledge.

Jose Luis Vivero Pol in conversation with David Bollier on this podcast.

Ferrando, T. , Claeys, P., Diesner, D., Vivero Pol, J.L., Woods, D. (2021). “Commons and Commoning for a Just Agroecological Transition: The Importance of Decolonising and Decommodifying our Food Systems.” In Resourcing an Agroecological Urbanism: Political, Transformational and Territorial Dimensions. Routledge.

Vivero Pol, J.L. (2017). Epistemic Regards on Food as a Commons: Plurality of Schools, Genealogy of Meanings, Confusing Vocabularies. SSRN.

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