Being in Common

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Concept from Jean-Luc Nancy:

"In constructing a discourse and practice of the community economy, what if we were to resist the pull of the sameness or commonness of economic being and instead focus on a notion of economic being-in-common? That is, rather than thinking in terms of the common properties of an ideal economic organization or an ideal community economy, we might think of the being-in-common of economic subjects and of all possible and potential economic forms." (


Antke Engel:

"Practices of being-in-common create space for difference, for a potentially conflictual heterogeneity defined by complex interdependencies. A notion of the social, which encounters freedom in relationality, is theoretically indebted to Louis Althusser’s concept of overdetermination. Explaining the use of this concept in detail in The End of Capitalism, Gibson-Graham explain that building an understanding of society on the thesis of overdetermination means that everything is seen as effected and effecting—any cause must necessarily also be an effect at the same time. The authors underline that this leads to a complex dynamic in which power relations cannot be isolated from one another, with no all-encompassing “truth” with which to effectively distinguish them. Any image of society depends on the perspective one takes, and the perspective one takes influences what one sees. Thus, academic as well as political practice, research, socioeconomic experimentation, or cultural and artistic work gain from a historically contextualized analysis that does not pretend to discover a single truth or present a universal solution." (