Carving Out the Commons: Tenant Organizing and Housing Cooperatives in Washington, D.C. (Diverse Economies and Livable Worlds #2) (Paperback)

Carving Out the Commons: Tenant Organizing and Housing Cooperatives in Washington, D.C. (Diverse Economies and Livable Worlds #2) Cover Image
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An investigation of the practice of “commoning” in urban housing and its necessity for challenging economic injustice in our rapidly gentrifying cities

Provoked by mass evictions and the onset of gentrification in the 1970s, tenants in Washington, D.C., began forming cooperative organizations to collectively purchase and manage their apartment buildings. These tenants were creating a commons, taking a resource—housing—that had been used to extract profit from them and reshaping it as a resource that was collectively owned by them. 

In Carving Out the Commons, Amanda Huron theorizes the practice of urban “commoning” through a close investigation of the city’s limited-equity housing cooperatives. Drawing on feminist and anticapitalist perspectives, Huron asks whether a commons can work in a city where land and other resources are scarce and how strangers who may not share a past or future come together to create and maintain commonly held spaces in the midst of capitalism. Arguing against the romanticization of the commons, she instead positions the urban commons as a pragmatic practice. Through the practice of commoning, she contends, we can learn to build communities to challenge capitalism’s totalizing claims over life. 

About the Author

Amanda Huron is assistant professor of interdisciplinary social sciences at the University of the District of Columbia.

Praise For…

"Through interviews and historical research, Amanda Huron gives us an in-depth description of the formation of a housing cooperative in Washington, D.C. in the ’70s and develops a theoretical structure enabling us to generalize this experience to other cities. It is a incisive book that speaks to a vital issue in contemporary politics and social theory."—Silvia Federici, author of Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation

"Amanda Huron illuminates new ways of thinking what social justice in the City can look like. Her writing is rigorous yet upholds the dignity of the people she studies and their attempts to stake out a right to their city. Carving Out the Commons will be a go-to both for academics and organizers in the coming years."—James Tracy, author of Dispatches Against Displacement: Field Notes from San Francisco's Housing Wars

"Carving Out the Commons offers deep and carefully researched insight into alternative ways to imagine, organize, and enact the urban commons that, if more broadly realized, could improve life for many. This important book should be read by students of the city as well as those trying to make it more socially just."—Nik Heynen, University of Georgia

"Investigating urban commons in the context of rapid and increasing urbanization is a critical endeavour. Ultimately, the book argues that the commons, as exemplified by the housing cooperatives, is “a pragmatic practice to be pursued, within and between and against capitalist practices” (page 155). The commons, and particularly urban commons, is a potential pathway to building a post-capitalist world." —Environment & Urbanization

Product Details
ISBN: 9781517901974
ISBN-10: 1517901979
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press
Publication Date: March 13th, 2018
Pages: 224
Language: English
Series: Diverse Economies and Livable Worlds

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