Seminar | ECOSOC-CES

The Silent Commons: On the Inhuman Agency of Commoning

Riccardo Buonanno (CES)

January 18, 2022, 14h30 (GMT)


Comments: Emanuele Leonardi (University of Bologna / CES) | Moderation: Irina Velicu (CES)


Ivan Illich contended that ‘silence is a commons’ to underline how modern means of communication would have transformed silence in a scarce resource, just like enclosures did with commons. This seminar builds on the well-known Illich’s claim to propose a theory of the commons grounded on silence. Its underlying assumption concerns noisy scarcity as rooted in dialectical ontologies based on the Human as the agent of transformation. It aims to consider silence in relation to commons as that insurrectionary agency exceeding and eluding the Human.

Noisy commons´ theories take for granted the humanity of their Subject, the commoner. Even if various scholars define commoning as the living labor fostering more-than-human relations, modern paradigm persists through the inclusion of non-human entities in a human path of becoming. Without a problematization of the Human, intended as a making sense of the world, commoning becomes yet another category instrumental to the human escape from the ruin of the Anthropocene.

The seminar elaborates on this contradiction of commons´ theory, by furthering the silence within commoning. It builds on Gilbert Simondon’s philosophy and on new materialist interpretations of his thought to show the immersion of the Human in a wider and planetary Inhuman pre-individual processuality. The purpose is to expand the imagination over the transindividual agency of commoning as silently Inhuman and out of human onto-epistemic sight. That provides a framework to conceive commoning as a non-human and indetermined invention of the new.

A blog about the seminar theme > HERE

Article discussion: Inhuman Commoning - New Materialist insights for a transindividual politics of Commons, Riccardo Buonanno, Irina Velicu. Currently under review.

[The text will be available one week before the event. In the case of a paper not yet published, an extended abstract will be made available. Those who wish to receive it should send an email to ]


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