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Capitalism and the Commons

Capitalism and the Commons book cover

This book examines the relationship between capitalism and the commons. Table readers may be particularly interested in the book’s discussion of agricultural land ownership and squatting, agroecological networks in Colombia, and women’s access to land in Africa.

Publisher’s summary

Capitalism and the Commons focuses on the political and social perspectives that commons offer, how they are appropriated or suppressed by capital and state, and how social initiatives and movements contest these dynamics or build their struggles on commoning.

The volume comprises theoretical and empirical approaches that engage with three main themes: conceptualising the commons, analysing practices of commoning, and exploring commons politics. In their contributions, the authors focus on the development of anti-capitalist commons and explore the issue of practice and politics through case studies from Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, and Africa more broadly, Austria, Germany and South Korea, ranging from peri-urban and rural agriculture to urban commons and how they manifest in the Global South as well as in the Global North. The book engages with different discourses on the commons in regard to their relevance for social change and thereby reinvigorates the political meaning of the commons. It provides an original and important approach to the topic in terms of conceptualisation, detailing diverse empirical realities, and analysing potential perspectives. In so doing, the book transcends narrow disciplinary boundaries and expands the focus to the global.

Providing a fresh perspective on the commons as a decisive component of alternatives, this title will be relevant to scholars and students of resource management, social movements, and sustainable development more broadly.



Exner, A., Kumnig, S. and Hochleithner, S. (2020). Capitalism and the Commons: Just Commons in the Era of Multiple Crises. Routledge, Abingdon.


Read more here. See also the Table explainer What is land use and land use change?

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