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Rethinking Enclosure: Space, Subjectivity and the Commons

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Abstract:  While concepts of “enclosure” and the “commons” are becoming increasingly popular in critical geography, there have been few attempts to think them together. This paper sets out a dialectic of enclosure–commons as a means for thinking through contemporary processes of exclusion, violence and alterity. We examine what is at stake through a geographical reading of enclosure, that is, the processes through which neoliberalism works through—and summons into existence—certain forms of spatiality and subjectivity. In doing so we confront the spatialities of enclosure's “other”: strategies and practices of commoning which assemble more inclusive, just and sustainable spaces. We examine the materiality of enclosure across a range of sites, from processes of walling to a more substantial assessment of the diverse assemblage of materials and subjectivities drawn into modalities of enclosure. We go on to explore the inscription of enclosure on the human body through an examination of, first, law, and second, biopolitics. In conclusion, we explore the implications of this argument for critical geographical scholarship.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK; 2: Department of Geography, Durham University, Durham, UK; 3: School of Geography, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK;

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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