Commoning the urban

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Madison B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Organizers: Sangeeta Banerji, Priti Narayan
Chairs: Amanda Huron

Call for Submissions

This panel invites papers that reflect, through theoretical ruminations and case studies, on:

1. The various mechanisms through which commoning occurs, and how they can be theorized.
Whether mechanisms already theorized as encroachment, informality, stewardship, and insurgence can be examined through the lens of commoning, especially given that some alternate insurgent strategies of spacemaking also prescribe to property logics (Holston 2008).
2. How commoning interacts with capitalism itself and existing legal instruments of dispossession such as eminent domain, land acquisition, state informality in various parts of the world.
3. How commoning practices draw from and interact with already existing ideas of public spaces, and multiple forms of tenure that are not part of Western monolithic private property logics.
4. What some of the "urban" aspects of commoning processes are, given that from the Marxist / Harveyian perspective, the urban is created essentially as an outcome of surplus capital production.
5. How commoning collectives emerge, and how benefits are distributed, especially given the tendency of neoliberal urban governance to atomize its subjects by imposing a "self-governance" consistent with market principles (as extensively theorized by Cruikshank 1999, Rose 1999, for instance) and allow claimsmaking through propertied citizenship (Ranganathan 2014, Ghertner 2015).
and any entries that speak to aspects of commoning the urban, and from academics, practitioners and activists.

Please submit abstracts of not more than 250 words, with your name and affiliation, to by October 26, 2018. We will respond to all submissions by November 2, 2018.


Marxist accounts of accumulation have focused on the historically grounded processes of enclosure and dispossession (Marx 1978, Harvey 2003, Levien 2015) as mechanisms to capture land and enable capitalist expansion. Contemporary iterations of accumulation processes are aided by new regimes and strategies of governance to sustain the smooth movement of capital across many geographies (Roy 2009, Goldman 2011, Ghertner 2015). Literature also suggests that alternate practices of spacemaking exist, which hinder or resist the advance of capital (Gibson-Graham 2006, for instance). Dense economic and state-society ties (Benjamin 2008), corruption as a way to continue to occupy land (Anjaria 2011), quiet encroachment (Bayat 2000) or simply the range of flexible arrangements between urban poor residents and politicians and bureaucrats (Benjamin and Bhuvaneswari 2001, Chatterjee 2004) constitute strategies that attempt to preserve the status quo, even advance the rights of the marginalized to occupy the urban. Could these processes be examined through the lens of commoning (Ostrom et al 1999, Linebaugh 2007, Fournier 2013 among others), the active reversal and/or overturning of logics of enclosure of space and privatization, through alternate practices of production and organization? How do emerging practices of commoning work, and how are they governed?


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Luke Leavitt*, University of Wisconsin - Madison, How Liberal Legal Strategies for Securing Homeless Rights Might Reterritorialize as Anti-Capitalist Critique and Praxis 15 5:00 PM
Presenter Priti Narayan*, Rutgers University, Autoconstruction of the commons: Moral claims to city land in Chennai, India 15 5:15 PM
Discussant Amanda Huron University of the District of Columbia 20 5:30 PM
Presenter Varun Patil*, Indian Institute of Habitat settlements bangalore, The Occupant Is the Owner!: Constructions and Contestations Over Varied Administrative Land Commons in North Bangalore: 15 5:50 PM
Presenter Tom Cowan*, University of Bergen, Re-working India's urban commons 15 6:05 PM
Presenter Megan Moore*, , Ruminations in the Ruins of Suburbia: the Coming Corporate City and the Haunting of the Settler Commons 15 6:20 PM
Introduction Priti Narayan Rutgers University 5 6:35 PM

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