Rethinking the Commons: From Nondualist Ontologies to Use without Law
Yet there is evidence that nondualism has no warranted ‘emancipatory’ implications. Nondualist ontologies are crucial to new dominative orientations, while the non-Western ontologies on which many rely take the shape of ‘invented traditions’ (Hobsbawn) belonging to the problematization against which they are mobilized. There is also evidence, both historical (e.g. Linebaugh) and theoretical (e.g. Esposito), that the communal does not automatically prevent injustice and domination.
Environmental sociology, then, is possibly a good place where a considered assessment of the present debate – more attentive to the power/knowledge dynamics implied in the alleged (re)discovery of different forms of life – can be carried out. To this purpose the paper will review the notion of the commons by reflecting on what is arguably its key element: free access according to need and with respect for the needs of the others. Such element brings to the forefront the question of ‘use’, and the role of law therein. The ‘Charter of the Forest’ and Franciscanism indicate possible directions for inquiry.