Commons as Actuality, Ethos and Horizon


Haiven, Max. 2017. “Commons as Actuality, Ethos and Horizon.” In Educational Commons in Theory and Practice, edited by Alex Means, Graham Slater, and Derek Ford, 23–37. London and New York: Palgrave MacMillan.


The idea, and the ideal, of the commons has encountered a surge in popularity in recent years. But the concept itself is at risk of enclosure. While it has become a rallying cry for grassroots, anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist revolt, today it is also being conscripted to the service of capital’s reproduction. This short essay explains how this is happening, then outlines a three-part method for imagining the commons in a more radical fashion: the actuality of the commons, the spirit of the commons and the horizon of the commons. It doesn’t provide a guide or a blueprint, but it does suggest a way to make some important distinctions at a very crucial time.