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(Re)-Creating the Commons: The Social Construction of New Commons

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Hannachi, Mourad; Taddei, Emma; Torloni, Camille; Raulet-Croset, Nathalie; Dumez, Herve
Conference: Practicing the Commons: Self-Governance, Cooperation and Institutional Change
Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands
Conf. Date: 10-14 July
Date: 2017
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10351
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Abstract: "There is currently an increasing interest to recover community management of resources, or even to (re-)create them as 'new commons'. The purpose of this communication is to explore, through the case-study of water management in the city of Naples (Italy), how new commons emerge. This purpose is composed on two sub questions: how does the commons concept perform? What are the actors and the processes that make the emergence of a new common effective? The story of the institutionalisation of water as a Common in the city of Naples started with citizen movements. These movements blossomed after a general trend of privatisation during the 90s: this allowed a private agency to get the management of the integrated water services of Naples. After a series of political struggles lasting more than 10 years, a great numbers of stakeholders involved and a tremendously successful referendum, the movements succeeded in transforming the private water agency, S.p.A., into a special company, ABC (which stands for 'Acqua Bene Comune', in English'Water as a Common Good'). This was done in order to eliminate the incentives to the pursuit of economic short-term profit, and in order to guarantee water as a human right. Naples is the first city in Italy to have re-municipalized its water service and this case study is not only the story of an organisational innovation, but also the story of a larger scale legal tools innovation. This study contributes to the overcoming of the apparent dichotomy between material and immaterial commons by focusing on the social construction of the commons. By examining this social construction phenomenon, this paper underlines the struggles around the commons and pinpoints some pathways and recipes that can foster the setting up and the resilience of commons management systems."

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