I lately got here throughout what appears to me a extremely necessary article, John Wagner's "Water and the Commons Imaginary", printed in 2012 in Present Anthropology (together with a collection of responses by different social scientists of the commons, together with Elinor Ostrom, in what should have been one in all her final writings). The summary actually doesn't do justice to the article's central argument, so I'll carry some excerpts right here (citations omitted):
The time period “commons” has been appropriated over latest a long time by people, firms, and curiosity teams searching for to learn from the constructive emotional responses that the time period appears to evoke. In some circumstances—buying commons, as an illustration—use of the time period seems to be primarily a advertising and marketing technique, however in different circumstances the time period carries a particular political argument, most sometimes an argument towards commodification, privatization, or enclosure and in favor of egalitarian, grassroots approaches to useful resource administration. It’s at this level clear break happens between commons as a selected sort of institutional association and commons-as-social-imaginary.
In making use of the time period “social imaginary” to the commons, I rely particularly on the work of Benedict Anderson on imagined communities and of Appadurai on creativeness and globalization. Commons represent a really totally different sort of imagined neighborhood than a nation-state, however a lot of Anderson’s evaluation is relevant however….
The commons imaginary can… be understood as a response to… basic adjustments in our social, financial, and political lives, notably these related to financial globalization, the accelerated tempo of erasure of place-based communities and social identities, and world environmental and financial crises. The commons imaginary, just like the nation-state, can be dependent for its building on print and digital media. The latest proliferation of using the time period “commons”… clearly attests to the way wherein it’s being constructed.