Capitalism and the Commons

NEW BOOK, OUT NOW @ Routledge

Andreas Exner, Sarah Kumnig, and Stephan Hochleithner (eds.)

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: conceptualizing the commons, analyzing 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 conceptualization, detailing diverse empirical realities, and analyzing 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.

For more information and orders visit the publisher’s website: here.

Table of Contents


1. Expanding the Scope: The Commons Within and Beyond Capitalism in Crisis

Andreas Exner, Stephan Hochleithner, Sarah Kumnig

2. Towards the Commons through the Gift

Andreas Exner


3. Commoning Land Access: Collective Purchase and Squatting of Agricultural Lands in Germany and Austria

Sarah Kumnig and Marit Rosol

4. “We don’t eat flowers” –Spatial Empowerment and Commons in Peri-urban Agroecological Networks as Answer to Socio-ecological Conflicts in Colombia

Birgit Hoinle

5. Women’s Struggles for Land in Africa and the Reconstruction of the Commons

Silvia Federici

6. War and the Commons: Enclosures and Capitalist Mobilization of Spatial Configurations in Course of Armed Conflict –the Case of North Kivu, DRC.

Stephan Hochleithner


7. Urban Undercommons: Solidarities Before and Beyond the National Imaginary

Niki Kubaczek and Sheri Avraham

8. Cracking Territorial Commons –the Gongyuji Movement in Seoul, South Korea

Yoonai Han and Seon Young Lee


9. Public-Common Partnerships, Autogestion, and the Right to the City.

Keir Milburn and Bertie Russell

10. South African Commoning, Cooperatives, and Eco-socialist Potentials in the Context of COVID-19

Patrick Bond and Meron Okbandrias


11. Liberating the Commons by Commoning Commons Research: The Enclosure of Reality and the Systematization of Experience

Barbara Stefan and Andreas Exner

12. Disengaging Capitalism: A Polyphonic Conclusion

Andreas Exner, Stephan Hochleithner, Sarah Kumnig