This paper presents the emergent paradigm of the “commons” as an alternative value and action system in the field of education, and it critically draws out the implications of the commons for refiguring education and its potential contribution to democratic transformation. The paper delves into an independent pedagogical community, Little Tree, which is active in early childhood education and care, aiming to explore the ways in which children conduct themselves in accordance with the ethics and the logics of the commons and to show how they thereby unsettle the conventional meaning of citizenship. Proceeding from an enlarged notion of the political, the collective action of children and adults on social relations and subjectivities in their ordinary activities and intercourse in the Little Tree community are explored, and the dominant beliefs and ideas about the political ability of children are contested. This enlarged take on the political is crucial to empowering children and to enhancing their participation in public life. This pedagogical community is taken up as an instance of commoning education, that is, of configuring education as a common good, which is collectively governed by its community on terms of freedom, equality, active and creative participation.
This paper spells out the value of an alternative paradigm of the commons for thinking social change and for refiguring education, in general, and music education, in specific. It sets out from the different strands of thought on the commons as a collaborative mode of living, acting and organizing on terms of collective autonomy, equal freedom, creativity, diversity and participation. It analyses the bearing of the various commons on contemporary music practices –horizontal work, open-source musicianship, individual experimentation, collectivized authorship- and education. Education as commons is transformed into a collective good which is co-created by all parties involved on a footing of equality, autonomy and creative freedom. Commoning music education, more specifically, would imply: an opening of music, and education in music, to any and all; a blurring of the divides between professionals and amateurs, teachers and students, producers and consumers; an endeavour to minimise unequal power relations, whereby the teacher relinquishes the role of the authority and becomes an assistant, an advisor, an animator and a facilitator; collective self-governance of educational processes; equal freedom through individual creativity, diversity, openness, collaboration, hybridity and experiment.
This paper addresses the question whether complementary currencies can help us think and practice politics in new and different ways which contribute to democratic change and civic empowerment in our times. The space created by the Sardex complementary currency circuit in Sardinia (2009-to date) seems to leave enough room for the emergence of a collective micropolitical consciousness. At the same time, the design of a technological and financial infrastructure is also an alternative political, or ‘alter-political’ choice. Both are alternative to hegemonic politics and to typical modes of mobilization and contestation. Thus, the Sardex circuit can best be understood as an alter-political combination of the bottom-up micropolitics of personal interactions within the circuit and of the politics of technology implicit in the top-down design of the technological and financial infrastructure underpinning the circuit. The Sardex experience suggests that a market that mediates the (local) real economy only and shuts out the financial economy can provide economic sustainability by supporting SMEs, supply a shield against the adverse effects of financial crises, and counteract the fetishization of money by disclosing daily its roots in social construction within a controlled environment of mutual responsibility, solidarity, and trust. We broached the Sardex currency and circuit in such terms in order to illustrate a significant and effective instance of alter-politics in our times and also to indicate, more specifically, community financial innovations which could be taken up and re-deployed to democratize or ‘commonify’ local economies.
Two members of our research team, Aimilia Voulvouli and Alexandros Kioupkiolis, will be giving a talk on ‘New ecosystems of cooperative politics: the case of Karditsa’ at the Social Sciences Today: Dilemmas and perspectives beyond the crisis conference organized by the School of Social Sciences at the University of the Aegean in Mytilene on June 6-9. Here’s the full programme of the conference, which includes the abstracts of all talks and presentations.
Following up on our last post, here’s the video from the second day of the #otheranthropolitics workshop co-organized by Heteropolitics and the Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology at the University of Thessaly in Volos on April 16, 2019.
Here’s the audio files from a presentation and a discussion about the commons and counter-hegemonic strategies with Alexandros Kioupkiolis, activists, researchers and academics at L’Asilo Filangieri in Naples on 31/3/2010:
Heteropolitics researcher Alexandros Kioupkiolis and our partner (from the P2P Lab) Vasilis Kostakis will be giving a talk at a workshop on the “Social & Solidarity Economy and the Commons: common places and divergences, limits and potential” organized by the Transdisciplinary Institute for Environmental and Social Studies (TIESS) and Heinrich Böll Foundation, which will be held at TIESS in Thessaloniki on April 20, 2019. The workshop will try to create a fertile dialogue between academics, researchers, members of SSE projects, social movements and Civil Society.