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Crisis commons: un/doing human mutualities 
Dimitris Dalakoglou (Vrije University Amsterdam)
Susanne Brandtstädter (University of Cologne)
Charlotte Bruckermann (University of Cologne)
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Thursday 18 July, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

This panel starts from the premise that existential crises may destroy resources and practices of being-in common, thereby unravelling earlier human ‘mutualities’ or they may be met by innovating the commons and initiating new forms of ‘intersubjective belonging’ (Sahlins).

Long Abstract:

Earlier work suggested that ecological crises potentially unite, while cultural crises often tear apart the people affected. By reviewing such crises through the prism of commons, commoning and ‘in common’ dynamics, we suggest that un/doing human mutualities through crisis will encompass all aspects of life itself.

Mutuality builds singularities out of plurality, and pluralities out of singularity, involving co-participation, co-responsibility and shared revelations (Pina-Cabral). Mutualities may establish hierarchy or equality, produce hard or porous boundaries, and they may prove more or less resilient in the face of existential crisis.

Our panel calls for papers that explore these processes empirically and through the interlinked dynamics of un/doing commons (e.g. shared resources, property, knowledge), commoning practices (e.g. sharing, pooling, transferring) and notions of ‘being in common’ (identities/commonalities). Periods of crisis initially result in upheaval, that are then followed by a reconstitution of the status quo through familiar patterns, or the emergence of alternative, often novel, modes of living.

We are particularly interested in the growth of emancipatory commons through crisis. We therefore ask potential panellist to explore the conditions that bring forth plural, expansive and egalitarian commons across and beyond established differences, or that, vice versa, shrink the scope of ‘mutuality’ by radicalising difference and hardening borders? What responses may be trigged by a ‘commoning of the bad’ (i.e. air pollution) versus a ‘commoning of the good’? How may ‘crisis commons’ enhance the resilience of life itself in the face of the interlocking crises threatening human (and more-than human) survival?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -