Commons as a Rhizomatic Movement

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By Angelos Varvarousis and Giorgos Kallis:

"We argue that the new (liminal) commons unfold and expand as a “rhizomatic movement” (Castells 2012). A rhizomatic movement is one that has no center or periphery, does not begin from or end at a specific point. Its nodes are either not connected or connected mostly through unforeseen encounters, following a decentralization-recentralization process (Zibechi 2010). The nodes of the rhizome are not stable but appear and disappear within a highly accelerating spiral; multiple nodes can be added to the move-ment without previous control of whether or not they are compatible with the network.Not all networked movements are rhizomatic. The transition town movement, for example, is a networked movement, without center or periphery, but in which, differently from a rhizome, there is a bigger stability of nodes. The connection of the nodes is not the outcome of unforeseen but of planned encounters, whose aim is to deepen an organic collaboration and not a temporal exchange of experiences as in rhizomes. Moreover, in a network there are usually checking mechanisms which ensure that new nodes are compatible with the existing structure and a minimum agreement is usually regarded essential for an expansion to occur." (