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The Commons Research Programme

Theorists suggest that the commons is an excess that represents the essence of community and social relationships. In this sense, we distinguish our conceptualisation from traditional resource-driven theorisations that culminated in the ‘tragedy of the commons’ where communally used or owned resources were conceived to be subject to over-utilisation and thus degradation.

Historically, the commons concerned the communal ownership and usage of agrarian land, providing an important livelihood support system for the poor. More recently, the concept has been applied to ‘common-property’ or ‘common-pool’ including the oceans or atmosphere. Our research is concerned with significant threats from enclosure in at least three different, but interrelated immaterial components of the commons. These are: social life, emergent commons, and neglected commons.

Research into the Commons focuses on community-based knowledges, and seeks to privilege the communal components of knowledge. Our current work examines the impacts of the shared economy including Uber and AirBnB. We are developing an argument for the third enclosure. We also have interests in elements of tourism, accounting change, law and Indigenous issue concerning historical harm.

Members of the Commons Research Programme

Dr Fanny Thornton, Assistant Professor in Law – Co-leader of the Commons Program

Dr Naomi Dale, Assistant Professor in Management – Co-leader of the Commons Program

Dr David Carter, Associate Professor in Law and Associate Dean of Research

Dr Jean-Paul Gagnon, Assistant Professor in Politics

Dr Raechel Johns, Associate Professor in Marketing and Head of School of Management

Dr Harun Harun, Assistant Professor in Accounting

Katrin McLeod, PhD Candidate and Research Assistant

Current Projects within the Commons Research Programme


Co-leaders on this project: Raechel Johns, Naomi Dale

Regulatory Technologies

Co-leaders on this project: David Carter, Harun Harun

Global Commons and the Democracy of Space

Co-leaders on this project: Fanny Thornton, Jean-Paul Gagnon

If you wish to obtain more information about the current projects within the Commons Research Programs, please contact Naomi Dale or Fanny Thornton.