Autonomous governance of networks in Rome, Semarang (Indonesia) and Île-de-France: Weakening of the commons in a long-term perspective

By Hélène Nessi, Julien Birgi, Joël Idt, Margot Pellegrino, Laurent Chauvet

This article focuses on the joint management of networked infrastructures. This form of collective urban service management, beyond the public/private dichotomy, meets a logic of commons and questions this notion. We will analyse three examples of organisations in France, Italy and Java using two approaches to alternative forms of organisation, one based on an economic and legal approach (Ostrom, 1990), the other on a philosophical and social approach (Laval and Dardot, 2014). For these three cases, we consider that networked infrastructure (drinking water, sanitation, energy distribution and roads) is the material object around which an institution (Ostrom, 1990; Coriat, 2013) or collective actions (Laval and Dardot, 2014) are structured. As such, we question the emergence of new governance methods in the production and/or management of networks, and their evolution over time. The materiality of the network involves successive phases of design/planning, implementation, as well as operation and maintenance. Each one of these steps forges or erodes the commons in a conflictual relationship with the public authorities, in contexts where the management of networks relates more or less highly to general interest. An analysis of the conditions under which they emerge, their evolution and the difficulties they have in structuring micropolitics and macropolitics, also leads us to question the way individual interests and collective emancipation are interwoven.

  • commons
  • alternative governance
  • community
  • network
  • infrastructures
  • urban services
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