Introduction: Diminishing Returns? Feminist Engagements with the Return to "the Commons"
AbstractRecently, there has been a resurgence in political theory and political philosophy addressing the concept of “the commons”. Some of the most popularly cited references to the idea can be found in the work of Slavoj Žižek (2009) and Hardt and Negri (2009). The past century has also seen vast and varied critical feminist engagements with historically changing concepts of communism and “the commons”. Struggles for universal suffrage, critiques of universality, denouncements of the hollowing out of the welfare state as a result of neoliberalisation, and challenges to the concept of the human, are all examples of a rich and diverse feminist tradition of engagement with the concept of “the commons”. Given the popular return to the idea of the commons, what more does feminist analysis have to give to this conversation? The following papers arise from a workshop held in March 2011, hosted by the Kent Centre for Law, Gender, and Sexuality and Kent Law School, to explore this question.
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