Talks and Poster Presentations (without Proceedings-Entry):

L. Franta, A. Hamedinger:
"Urban Commons as Emancipatory Spatial Practice? Challenges and Potentials";
Talk: XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology, Toronto; 07-15-2018 - 07-21-2018.

English abstract:
Urban Commons As Emancipatory Spatial Practice? Challenges
and Potentials in the Post-Democratic Era
In the context of the economic and financial crisis, which has profoundly
reshaped cities and regions around the globe, alternative forms of social and
economic organisation are increasingly discussed in urban and regional research
and practice. Particularly commons are (again) hotly debated as an alternative
way to organize the production, distribution and consumption of certain
resources. We interpret urban commons as relational processes (not a product);
as socio-spatial and socio-political practices of actors collectively producing and
appropriating, maintaining, distributing and consuming certain urban resources.
Commons are produced by actors with the aim to satisfy basic needs beyond
state and market. However, an understanding of neoliberal urbanization helps
to contextualize the potential, as well as the challenges, of urban commons. The
practice of commoning may have potential to emancipate various social groups
from hegemonic neoliberal structures in the post-democratic city, hence the
potential of changing power structures in urban development. Emancipation and
the related approaches of `emancipatory city´ help us to define urban commons in
the context of the neoliberal city: emancipation means active political and social
self-liberation from paternalistic and hegemonic structures, and a democratization
of social and political orders by citizens (e.g. through self-organization), a political
process often hindered by the political order and its institutional and spatial
Based on two case studies of urban food commons in Vienna, these questions
are answered: how can urban commoning as a relational practice unfold its
emancipatory potential? How can urban commoning cope with challenges as the
instrumentalization by neoliberal rhetoric, as well as the risk of becoming socially
exclusive through institutionalization and defining concepts of `us´ versus a `them´
and thus reproducing inequalities in the production of urban space?

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