yonatan reinberg on Thu, 25 Nov 2010 11:27:46 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Roberto Verzola: Abundance and the Generative Logic of the Commons

> 2: The abundance concept is even more neglected than the commons
> The commons concept was denigrated for decades by mainstream social
> scientists who thought that all commons inevitably collapsed. They
> made the "tragedy of the commons" a sound-bite. However, the
> need to manage threatened global commons like the atmosphere, the
> oceans and biodiversity and the rise of Internet-based commons
> forced a second look at the rich literature on this topic. The 2009
> Economics Nobel Prize award to Elinor Ostrom for her work on the
> commons put the concept back on the mainstream.

hi all, first time poster, and - gasp - anthropologist here.  

You interestingly bring up that mainstream science (and therefore
media, academic, etc discourse that relies on science for authority
and authenticity) has been drinking the kool-aid on popular
commons thought and the broken theories of rational actors,
utilitarianism, etc that undergird it. However I'd like to accordingly
question the keynote speech's curious reliance on other, completely
related biological/genetic/etc models of abundance, reproduction,
and efficiency that you bring up. Seems to be a mainstay of
techno-writers, -liberatarians, luddites, and futurists alike.
Sociobiologists, all.

Anthropologists have long argued about the uses of these
epistemological and phenomenological models of cultural and knowledge
production and have argued for other modes of self/commons,
reproduction, evolution and inheritance, models that don't rely
on 19th century these which naturalized alot of what was - at the
time - the social power and desires of the elites, whether colonial
investigators, burgeoning capitalists, Victorian botanists or even -
god forbid! - old school anthropologists.

Off the top of my head, see for example Stefan Helmreich, Cori
Hayden, etc (loosely, from the STS "branch" [if you'll pardon the
metaphor!] of contemporary anthropology, much of which is inspired
by the Latour/Schaffer/Schapin schools of taxonomic deconstruction,
science/nature rexamination, etc). Or it might be nice to think about,
say, Afro-Brazilian candomble; Aboriginal Dreamtime; alternative
"gift economies" of money and beliefs in trans-Andean pishtacos; or
even rumor and gossip as sites production of knowledge that say alot
and very different things about abundance, production, authorship,
ownership, etc. (on this last point Luise White and her work on rumor
is great).

All of this point is to say, in layman's terms, to be careful of what
one posits against the norm, because deep down it still partakes of
the same divisions, taxonomies one fights against.

yoni reinberg.

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