Vocabulary of Commons

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Vocabulary of commons is a socio-linguistic enquiry into the legal and livelihood consequences the term ‘commons’—a search for a vocabulary that reflects a commons approach to a life with dignity in harmony with Gaia and communitarian aspirations. It is to strengthen community articulation and make their voices heard in the ongoing efforts of dialogue between communities, academics, practitioners and decision makers. It was coordinated by OpenSpace (openSpace.org.in).

First (print, pdf) edition January 2011. Slightly reorganised, with small changes to article titles and headings, for republication here by the P2PF, 2017.

Original Publisher: Foundation for Ecological Security
PB No. 29, Anand, Gujarat, INDIA–388001
p: +91 (2692) 261239; f: +91 (2692) 262087
e: [email protected] w: fes.org.in





1. Perspective
11 Towards a Vocabulary of Commons Anita Cheria and Edwin
12 Primitive Accumulation of Capital and De–Commoning Ritajyothi Bandyopadhyay
2. Natural commons
21 Commons To Capital S Bosu Mallick
22 Commons, Communities and State Appropriation Ashok Chowdhury, Roma
23 Common Resources and Community Management Walter Fernandes, Gita Bharali and Melvil Pereira
24 Rural commons: A source of livelihood and sustainability Prafulla Samantara
25 Water as Commons C R Neelakandan
26 Coastal Commons Gomathy Balasubramanian
3. People and commons
31 Women and commons: Engaging with gender justice Anungla Aier
32 Children and the right to commons Enakshi Ganguly Thukral
33 Dalits and the commons Yashoda
34 Transgender and Commons Anita Cheria and Edwin
35 Worker or fisher? K P Sasi
4. Urban commons
41 Streets as commons: What’s happening to our streets? Vinay Sreenivasa
42 Property in Urban Commons: Contested spaces and embedded claims Bhuvaneswari Raman
43 Some Thoughts on the De–Commoning of Bengaluru Solomon Benjamin
44 Water for Commons: Disparity in Chennai Geeta Lakshmi
5. Social commons
51 Resisting erosion: Dissent and the Commons Kinjal Sampat and Deepak Srinivasan
52 Vocabulary of Humanitarian Commons Mihir R Bhatt
53 Social Exclusion and Commons Sukhadeo Thorat and Nidhi Sadana Sabharwal
54 Public infrastructure: Building socially inclusive commons Anita Cheria and Edwin
55 Health, Nutrition and the Commons Mira Shiva
6. Knowledge commons
61 The Agro–Biodiversity Commons Suman Sahai
62 Knowledge and Science as Commons Prabir Purkayasthsa
63 The Commons and IT: A paradigm shift in knowledge creation Venkatesh Hariharan
7. The spiritual and sacred commons
71 The Sacred Commons Anita Cheria and Hrangthan Chhungi
72 Cosmosity: Dalits and the Spirituality of the Commons MC Raj
8. Summing up
81 Challenges of Modernity and Commons Anita Cheria and Edwin
82 Let's Talk Commons Anita Cheria and Edwin


General licensing

The original book is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this document are solely that of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of FES.

This book is not for sale. Suggested contribution Rs 450; USD 45; Euro 35

Foundation for Ecological Security (FES)

Registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI 1860, the Foundation for Ecological Security was set up in 2001 to reinforce the massive and critical task of ecological restoration in the country. The crux of our efforts lie in locating forests and other natural resources within the prevailing economic, social and ecological dynamics in rural landscapes and in intertwining principles of conservation and local self governance for the protection of the natural surroundings and improvement in the living conditions of the poor. By working on systemic issues that can bring about a multiplier change, we strive for a future where the local communities determine and move towards desirable land-use that is based on principles of conservation and social justice.

Initiative on Commons

The Initiative on Commons, currently anchored by FES, aims to bring together practitioners, policy makers and academia, working on various domains of commons— physical commons such as such as forests, grazing resources, protected areas, water, fisheries, coasts, lagoons, irrigation systems as well as ‘new commons’ such as knowledge, digital and cultural commons, genetic resources, patents, climate, etc. It is an evolving platform to advance understanding, research and advocacy on the commons. The initiative ultimately aims to influence public perception, policy environment and programmatic action in favour of the commons.

The whole book, first edition, is displayed properly as PDF at