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Enclosure Within and Without the Commons

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: McCann, Anthony
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Conf. Date: August 9-13, 2004
Date: 2004
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/892
Sector: Theory
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources--theory
Abstract: "Over the last number of years I have been focusing on the expansion of intellectual property discourses and practices among those who involve themselves in Irish traditional culture. In particular, my theoretical focus has turned to the analysis of expansionary social dynamics that involve the accelerative commodification of everyday life. "In this paper I address some of the ways in which my attempts to use resource management models of common property theory have left me unable to explain many of the aspects of the social situations and social dynamics that I have encountered. I will also explain how it is that I have turned from models of 'the commons' to a model of 'enclosure' in a bid to come to less partial and more adequate analyses of expansion and commodification, and to more reflective and reflexive understandings of whatever 'the commons' is taken to mean. A brief overview of a new theory of commodification is presented, and through this it will be argued that many of the social situations that we characterize as environments of common property may also be characterized as environments of enclosure, thus providing us with far greater explanatory power than the limiting models of resource management. It will further be suggested that our emphasis on common property and the commons may be seriously misleading, and that we might be better served focusing on the relational implications of expansion and commodification, that is, enclosure (without the commons)."

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