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Emerging and Disappearing Commons


10 et 11 septembre 2020

Responsable de l'activité



Dr. Carlo Inverardi-Ferri, UNIFR

Dr. Jevgeniy Bluwstein, UNIFR

M. Romain Valadaud, UNIFR





Over the last decades, the commons have become a major area of research within the social sciences. They have also appeared as an important and contested field of political practice. This workshop invites participants to reflect on theoretical, empirical, and methodological questions pertaining to the commons. The reflections will focus on processes of emerging and disappearing urban commons. Such processes can also be called commoning and de-commoning.


The workshop will be guided by the following questions. What are the political, cultural and social processes that characterise the ongoing enclosure of common spaces and resources today? What is the history of these commons and how do processes of de-commoning take place and remake space? Where, when and how do new ways of living and acting together emerge in society? How do commoning movements (strive to) reconfigure society and space? How can we study these processes methodologically and how can we analyse them?


Focusing on theoretical, methodological and empirical aspects, the workshop will bring together doctoral candidates, early career researchers and senior scholars as well as activists working on a range of issues relevant to the commons. While previous research in the area is not required to join the event, PhD students will be asked to interrogate their own work through the lenses of the commons and to contribute to round-table discussions. The workshop will also include visits to existing and disappearing urban commons in the city of Fribourg.


This workshop is conducted in English




Day 1 – 10 September








9-9.30 Arrival and café/welcome

9.30-10 Introduction to the workshop

10-11 Presentation of participants and speakers

11-12.30 1st Keynote TBC; discussion

12.30-13.30 Lunch






13.30-18 Visit to the Blue Factory, FriSon, and La Coutellerie as sites of old, emerging and contested commons in Fribourg – meeting local actors, discussions and exchanges

The visit will be led by Prof. Olivier Graefe and Romain Valadaud






18-21 Debriefing, dinner and networking at Le Port (another commoning space in Fribourg) or Les Menteurs (Blue Factory)






Day 2 – 11 September






9-11 Joint plenary: each PhD participant presents their own research through the prism of the Commons – focus on theoretical, methodological and empirical aspects

11-12.30 Group workshop: in smaller groups, participants will give each other feedback based on the presentations. Focus on theoretical, methodological and empirical aspects. Invited speakers and workshop organizers will join the groups

12.30-13.30 Lunch





13.30-15 2nd Keynote TBC; discussion

15-17 Discussion: bringing together impressions from the field excursion and participant's phd projects - theoretical, methodological and empirical aspects to study contemporary processes and histories of (de-)commoning





18.30 Dinner at La Coutellerie for those who stay in Fribourg for the night






Délai d'inscription 30.08.2020

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