Here we describe how the patterns based framework "make commoning work" can be used as an analytical tool to study the commons. We elicited the patterns of our framework in pattern mining process, a heuristic and methodology that is open by design: that is: new patterns can be added to the framework if the insights during the research process suggest so.
If commons are complex, generative social practices which encompass three+ realms of commoning and enact a free, fair & sustainable society, then these realms must be studied by commons scholars simultaneously. That is the social life (how do we relate to each other?), the Peer Governance (aka institutionalization à la Ostrom) and the way people meet their needs through commons (aka provisioning or "economy").
# How can this be done?
a very preliminar and rough sketch: - Take whatever commons or generative social practice. - Focus on the "dimensions", the realms of inter- and intra-action each of the patterns adresses. One by one. For instance: Do people Keep Commons & Commerce Distinct? and if so how? Do people Practice Gentle Reciprocity and if so how? Do people Preserve Relationships in Adressing Conflicts and if so how? - You might use the methodology you prefere for answering these questions, but make sure your insights are not only based on literature, as usually people don't write about the "inner dimensions of commoning." We made good experiences with semi-structured interviews. - Assess the extend to which a given commons or social practice enacts the pattern you study. - Make it visible on a multidimensional tool such as a radar chart wiki . - If you identify dimensions/ realms of interactions that are not properly adressed in the existing framework, you can mine another pattern and add it to the framework.
This way, the analysis will provide information to what extend the ethics and action-logic (Ubuntu-rationality of commoning is present in the social practice you study. You will never find a perfect match in all dimensions, some are always stronger than others. But the analysis allows you to identify the strong and the weak points. The latter might be door openers for cooptation, loss of inner dynamism and countless other problems we encounter in the commons.
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# See also
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