COMMONS: PRACTICES OF SPACES AND SOCIAL CHANGE

Elisabetta Cangelosi

Abstract


The debate about common pool resources and the commons is not new (as demonstrated not only by the very well-known researches by E.Ostrom but also an article of Ciriacy-Wantrupp and Bishop in 1975, however  their role in today political context has changed and the topic is becoming more and more relevant. In fact in various European Countries several are the specific actions oriented to the protection and the care of the commons.

However the political and juridical content remains to be defined, especially for its interaction with the concepts of public and private. In certain domains the political and theoretical thinking about the commons is stronger than in others, therefore the contribution they can offer to the debate is particularly interesting. In this perspective the study focuses on urban spaces and the role played by social movements in their definition. In fact no legislation in Europe recognizes the commons as a legal category and most of the social and political thinking about is part of grassroots engagement. The lack in legislation however doesn’t imply a lack of interest among law scholar nor among  institutions: the proceedings of the Rodotà Commission in Italy in 2007 (aiming to include the commonsin the classification of goods in the civil code) and the researches and publications sponsored by the Social Cohesion Division of the Council of Europe (highlighting the importance of a legal recognition of the commons to protect them) are two consistent examples of this attention and provide focused views and approaches to the topic. According to the study of the Council of Europe, for example, the recognition and protection the commons would contribute to the eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights. In fact for grassroots movements focusing on social and economic alternatives the  use of the definition of the commons is particularly relevant as a form of resilience against the crisis. Furthermore among the same grassroots movements an interest for legal aspects and legal  implications is raising and it could contribute to the definition of the framework, where different components and different levels of awareness are blended. 

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Comparative Law Review is registered at the Courthouse of Monza (Italy) - Nr. 1988 - May, 10th 2010.
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