In response to acute crises and complex, long-term systemic challenges, structural violence, austerity and neglect, people around the world are coming together in commons. Communities of ‘commoners’ are reconfiguring relationships between society, technology and the non-human environment, designing new models of decision-making, production, social care and distribution based on values such as solidarity, mutuality and autonomy.
Whether speaking of a rural fishery, an urban housing project, a neighbourhood energy co-op or an open digital platform, the ‘new commons’ have emerged as a dynamic and plural space of experimentation, theorisation, research and practice. They comprise a global terrain of both social creativity and grassroots struggle to create, reclaim and govern defend shared resources, multispecies communities and means of social reproduction.
This Sussex Development Lecture introduces the new Centre for Future Natures and brings together perspectives from the new commons to explore grounded experiences, theories and stories of change. How do conceptualisations of crisis, global challenges, development and internationalism that emerge from commoning practice differ or converge with those that shape dominant research and policy approaches at different levels? What visions of change or transformation motivate commons practice in the long-term, and how do they seek to intervene and transform broader-scale systems, processes and discourses?