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Extracting the Commons
Linköping University, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, Department of Culture Studies – Tema Q. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2040-913X
Linköping University, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, Department of Culture Studies – Tema Q. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3309-3840
2017 (English)In: Cultural Studies, ISSN 0950-2386, E-ISSN 1466-4348, Vol. 31, no 2-3, 253-276 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates how resources that are perceived as common are turned into property through different interventions of extractivism, and how this provokes counter-activism from groups and actors who see their rights and living conditions threatened by the practices of extraction. The article looks at how extraction is enacted through three distinct practices: prospecting, enclosure and unbundling, studied through three different cases. The cases involve resources that are material and immaterial, renewable as well as non-renewable, ‘natural’ as well as man-made. Prospecting is exemplified by patenting of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, enclosure is exemplified by debates over copyright expansionism and information commons, and unbundling through conflicts over mining and gas extraction. The article draws on fieldwork involving interviews and participant observation with protesters at contested mining sites in Australia and with digital rights activists from across the world who protest against how the expansion of copyright limits public access to culture and information. The article departs from an understanding of ‘commons’ not as an open access resource, but as a resource shared by a group of people, often subjected to particular social norms that regulate how it can be used. Enclosure and extraction are both social processes, dependent on recognising some and downplaying or misrecognising other social relations when it comes to resources and processes of property creation. These processes are always, regardless of the particular resources at stake, cultural in the sense that the uses of the commons are regulated through cultural norms and contracts, but also that they carry profound cultural and social meanings for those who use them. Finally, the commonalities and heterogeneities of these protest movements are analysed as ‘working in common’, where the resistance to extraction in itself represents a process of commoning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2017. Vol. 31, no 2-3, 253-276 p.
Keyword [en]
Extraction, commons, property creation, digital piracy, natural resources, bioprospecting
National Category
Cultural Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-135764DOI: 10.1080/09502386.2017.1303428ISI: 000402014000005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-135764DiVA: diva2:1083282
Projects
Commons and Commodities
Funder
Swedish Research Council, E0633901EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, Marie Curie Actions Cofund Project INCA 600398
Note

Funding agencies: Swedish Research Council; Marie Skldowska Curie Actions [E0633901, INCA 600398]

Available from: 2017-03-20 Created: 2017-03-20 Last updated: 2017-06-13Bibliographically approved

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The full text will be freely available from 2018-09-17 14:36
Available from 2018-09-17 14:36

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Dahlin, JohannaFredriksson, Martin
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