Markets versus commons? What relationships? What roles for STS? 
Les Levidow (The Open University)
Luigi Pellizzoni (University of Pisa)
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Saturday 3 September, 9:00-10:45 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

There has been a long-standing debate over 'markets versus commons', yet they intermingle in various ways. The session aims to shed light on this contested area, especially the role of STS concepts.

Long Abstract

There has been a long-standing debate over 'markets versus commons'. Historically, marketization has undermined the community basis of commons, yet this process also has depended on commons - and perhaps vice versa in some cases. Recently this debate has had a revamp. New spaces for marketization (often before or after privatization), with the emergence of new knowledge and material commons, have been facilitated by technoscientific developments, especially through genomics, digital-informational sciences and their convergence. Another facilitator has been climate change policies, promoting techno-fixes along with market-based instruments and new opportunities for proprietary knowledge. At the same time, each in their own way, markets and commons have been enacted in ways resonant with STS concepts - e.g. the performativity of economics (Callon et al.), ANT's non-dualist perspectives on materiality and agency and feminist postcolonial perspectives, among others.

The session aims to shed light on this contested area, where commons and marketization intermingle in various ways. The following questions seem relevant:

In a given area or issue, what are the various forms of markets and commons?

What conflicts arise between those forms? How?

What are their conflicts and interdependencies?

What types of knowledge/material commons complement and/or undermine markets?

How do new configurations open up novel spaces of contestation and/or complementarity?

What STS theoretical concepts can help to address those questions?

What interpretive and/or performative roles do STS concepts play in these processes?

Accepted papers: