Navigation auf


Forschungsstelle für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte

Governing a fractured world. A History of the Commons-Paradigm and the Transformation of the Public Spirit, 1960s-2000s

The project examines the historical origins of the contemporary commons paradigm and its utopian promise to provide cohesive cohabitation in a fractured world. It reconstructs, based on three case studies of scholarly networks, how the „study of the commons“ became a new field of interdisciplinary research encompassing both the social and natural sciences as well as a global network of scientists, living labs and test sites. It explores how the output of this research influenced development policies within governmental and non-governmental agencies and questions its popularisation in various social movements of different political hues (from Libertarianism to Eco-socialism). By investigating the links between science, politics and activism, the complex relationships among knowledge, its applications, and power around questions of sustainability and governance, the project has two goals: It seeks to understand the emergence of a new sense of global responsibility since the 1970s, both in demarcation to and in connection with shifting notions of the state and the market. And it aims to trace the emergence of the „homo cooperativus“ by mapping out various concepts of cooperative behaviour and its environmental pre-conditions. Drawing methodologically on the work of Sheila Jasanoff, the concern with the commons is analysed as a collectively imagined vision of social life and social order which can be mobilized for various social, economic and political interests – both in response to the complex phenomenon of globalisation, but also as its driver.