Elimination of Uncertainty and the Politics of Enclosure
Anthony McCann, Ph.D., Editor
romhat, welcome, to Beyond the Commons. I call the site
"Beyond the Commons" because while the site does engage with debates about the commons,
the primary concern here is with the process and practices of enclosure. I believe we can
more helpfully understand enclosure by not simply portraying enclosure as a
threat to whatever we understand as "the commons".
To understand enclosure I believe it is helpful to identify resistance to enclosure,
to understand the character of expansionary social dynamics and of commodification,
and to also understand how we ourselves frequently participate in enclosure. This site is
dedicated to an exploration of the social psychology, or rather, the social psychologies of enclosure.
The writings presented on the Beyond the Commons website primarily deal
with issues of music, intellectual property, copyright, and performing rights. They also address wider issues, however. At the very least, the following questions are posed:
'Why might we do the things we do?',
'How might we understand social life in ways which leave the door open
for positive transformation in terms of participative
personal agency?', and
'How might we understand our experience more subtly, more appropriately in order to
minimise the damage effected by well-intentioned actions?'
and the Politics of Gentleness (real media)
This is a guest lecture given by Anthony McCann at the Dept. of
Folklore and Ethnology of University College, Cork, in February 2007. It last for about 57 minutes, including some open discussion at the end.
Feast and Famine: David Martinez in conversation with
Iain Boal on scarcity and catastrophe
(inactive, but lots in the archive)
Recent article on Enclosure and the "Information Commons"(pdf)
available in the journal Information and Communications Technology Law
Visual representation of Anthony McCann's theory of enclosure (pdf)
Gloss, which I should really put on the diagrams!:
the more the 'influence'
variable ascends the pyramid, the more directive the influencing of structuring of expectation ...
the more the 'affect' variable ascends the pyramid the more intense the affective experience ...
the more the 'meaning' variable ascends the pyramid the more the discursive quality of the meaning
is associated with the '"elimination" of uncertainty'.
The diagrams make most sense when considered
in association with the longer written work and/or the powerpoint presentations on the site.
Selected Enclosure Bibliography (pdf)
The 'Contested Commons/ Trespassing Publics' conference in New Delhi
Mobilities and Enclosures at Borders
This is a link to information about the latest issue of Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.
The abstract begins:
"Our central agenda is to rethink the concept of movement in
anthropology and other social sciences. We do this through two
themes-mobilities and enclosures-both of which draw our attention
to power and its diverse outcomes, especially at borders. Enclosure
addresses processes that delimit and restrict the movement of specific
goods, people, and ideas, while mobilities concern processes that enable
and induce such movements...."
Towards a Theory of Expansionary Enclosure
This is the powerpoint
presentation of a talk entitled "Towards a Theory of Expansionary Enclosure: The Elimination
of Uncertainty and the Architectures of Commodification," which I presented at the Bakhtin Centre
of the University of Sheffield on November 23, 2004.
"It Seems to be Getting Worse"
This is the powerpoint
presentation of a talk entitled "“It seems to be getting worse”: Intellectual Property,
Discursive Feedback, and the Commodification of Ethnomusicology," which I presented at the
Society for Ethnomusicology annual conference in Tucson, Arizona, on November 6, 2004.
Position Paper Oct.'04: Enclosure Within and Without the Commons
(This paper is no longer linked and has been superceded by this one)
Over the last number of years I have been focusing on the expansion of intellectual
property discourses and practices among those who involve themselves
in Irish traditional culture. In particular, my theoretical focus has
turned to the analysis of expansionary social dynamics that involve the
accelerative commodification of everyday life.In this paper I will address
some of the ways in which my attempts to use resource management models of
common property theory left me unable to explain many of the aspects of the
social situations and social dynamics that I encountered. I will also explain
how it is that I have turned from models of “the commons” to a model of “enclosure”
in a bid to come to less partial and more adequate analyses of expansion and
commodification, and to more reflective and reflexive understandings of
whatever “the commons” is taken to mean. A brief overview of a new theory
of commodification will be presented, and through this it will be argued
that many of the social situations that we characterize as environments of
common property may also be characterized as environments of enclosure,
thus providing us with far greater explanatory power than the limiting
models of resource management. It will further be suggested that our
emphasis on common property and the commons may be seriously misleading,
and that we might be better served focusing on the relational implications
of expansion and commodification, that is, enclosure (without the commons).
Click on the links below to take you where you want to go!
Towards an Understanding of Enclosure
The Hope Archive
Basic Information about Anthony McCann
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