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= Stavros Stavrides distinguishes a 'community' based vs. 'public' based conception of the Commons [1]


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"The notion of the public urges our thinking about the commons to become more complex. The possibility of encounter in the realm of the public has an effect on how we conceptualize commoning and sharing. We have to acknowledge the difficulties of sharing as well as the contests and negotiations that are necessarily connected with the prospect of sharing. This is why I favor the idea of providing ground to build a public realm and give opportunities for discussing and negotiating what is good for all, rather than the idea of strengthening communities in their struggle to define their own commons. Relating commons to groups of “similar” people bears the danger of eventually creating closed communities. People may thus define themselves as commoners by excluding others from their milieu, from their own privileged commons. Conceptualizing commons on the basis of the public, however, does not focus on similarities or commonalities but on the very differences between people that can possibly meet on a purposefully instituted common ground.

We have to establish a ground of negotiation rather than a ground of affirmation of what is shared. We don’t simply have to raise the moral issues about what it means to share, but to discover procedures through which we can find out what and how to share. Who is this we? Who defines this sharing and decides how to share? What about those who don’t want to share with us or with whom we do not want to share? How can these relations with those “others” be regulated? For me, this aspect of negotiation and contest is crucial, and the ambiguous project of emancipation has to do with regulating relationships between differences rather than affirming commonalities based on similarities." (http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/stavros-stavrides-on-the-politics-of-the-commons/2010/06/24 - http://www.e-flux.com/journal/view/150)