Commons and Commoning: Perspectives from democratic theory and political ecology

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Event Dates: 
June 5, 2013 to June 6, 2013
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Ultuna Campus, Uppsala, Sweden


A Pre-COCE Workshop aimed at PhD students is being offered by the Society, Landscape and Land Use Research School of the Department of Urban and Rural Development at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

A PhD workshop in Uppsala (5-6 June 2013)

2, 5 ECTS (European Credit Points)

The context:

The 12th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE) will be held in Uppsala, Sweden from 6-10 June 2013. The theme of this year’s conference is Environmental Communication: Participation Revisited - Openings and closures for deliberations on the Commons.

Taking advantage of the conference opportunity, a PhD workshop will be organized in the two days preceding the Conference (beginning at 9:00 on June 5 and concluding at 13.15 June 6, 2013).


Increasing interest in the commons has motivated different, and also diverging, theoretical assessments on what commons are and how and why do people preserve, create, defend and signify commons.  The concept of ‘commoning’ has been proposed to bring agency to the understanding of the very process of producing and reproducing a common. In this regard many of the questions surrounding the commons are historical questions. In addition, the practice of ‘commoning’ implies important questions for democratic theory and political ecology.

Workshop Characteristics:

This workshop aims at discussing the relations between commons, history, political ecology and democratic theory, with the wider context of environmental communication and management as background.  The workshop will be organized through participants’ presentations and in-depth discussions about the different topics and interests brought to the workshop by participants seeking to update themselves on the notions of Commons and ‘Commoning’ and relating to own research and the Conference theme.

Commons, and indeed communities, as overlapping spheres for deliberative practice of communication and of learning and action, in environmental governance and decision making have been an area of study in several overlapping research projects within Environmental Communication at SLU.

International Guest Speakers:

John Dryzek, Professor of Political Science & Australian Research Council Federation Fellow, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra

Working in both political theory and empirical social science, Professor Dryzek is best known for his contributions in the areas of democratic theory and practice and environmental politics. One of the instigators of the 'deliberative turn' in democratic theory, he has published five books in this area. His work in environmental politics ranges from green political philosophy to studies of environmental discourses and movements, and he has published three books in this area with Oxford University Press and Basil Blackwell.

John Dryzek’s current Federation Fellowship involves work on deliberative global governance (with special reference to climate change) and democratization interpreted in deliberative terms (with special reference to East Asia)

Steffen Boehm, Director, Essex Sustainability Institute

Holding a PhD from the University of Warwick, Steffen Boehm is currently professor in Management and Sustainability at the Business School at University of Essex and Director of the Essex Sustainability Institute. His research focuses on political economies and ecologies of organization, management and the environment. He was a co-founder of the open-access journal Ephemera: theory & politics in organization, and is co-founder and co-editor of the new open-access publishing press MayFlyBooks as well as Interface: A Journal for and about Social Movements. He has published three books: Repositioning Organization Theory (Palgrave), Against Automobility (Blackwell) and Upsetting the Offset: The Political Economy of Carbon Markets (Mayfly).

Proposed number of Participants:  20

Course admission: Free

If interested, please register with Cristián Alarcón Ferrari by email on

Venue: Department of Urban and Rural Development at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Ultuna Campus

Workshop details:

1 week of readings in advance

Two day workshop in Uppsala

2 weeks of post-workshop online discussion

Preliminary course schedule and Lecture topics by guest speakers is to be announced.