“Patterns of Commoning” is Now Online!

I’m pleased to report that Patterns of Commoning is now available online.  The book – a collection of more than 50 original essays about lively, productive commons – is the most accessible and far-ranging survey of contemporary commons in print.

The anthology features profiles of such innovative commons as Farm Hack, a global network that makes open source farm equipment…. the Bangla-Pesa currency that has helped revive a poor neighborhood in Kenya…. a collaborative online mapping project that help humanitarian rescue efforts….the theater commons HowlRound, the Obstea forest commons of Romania, and the water committees of Cochabamba, Bolivia.

When my co-editor Silke Helfrich and I published the book a year ago with the support of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, we deliberately bypassed commercial publishers because they demand too much control and deliver too little in return. We self-published the book with the help of dozens of commoners who pre-ordered the book, and then printed and distribute it via Off the Commons Books in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Since we have retained control over the copyright and publication, we were able to use a Creative Commons license and post the book on the Web.  This is what we also did for our previous anthology, The Wealth of the Commons, whose website continues to get a lot of readers worldwide.

So head on over to the website for Patterns of Commoning, and check out the many fantastic chapters, each on its own webpage.  Don’t be shy about buying a printed copy of the book via Off the Common Books or, if you must, Amazon.com. Because of our commons-based publishing scheme, we are able to offer a handsome 405-page softcover book for only $15 plus postage.

Ebook versions are available in Kindle, Nook and ePub formats.  Outside of the US, the book can be ordered from Central Books in London. The German edition of the book -- Die Welt der Commons Muster gemeinsamen Handelns, published by transcript Verlag – can be found here.                                                                                                                                                             Besides telling some great stories, Patterns of Commoning draws on anthropological perspectives and theory in exploring the inner and personal dynamics of commons.  Stories about fishermen in Scotland, shanty dwellers in South Africa, and indigenous peoples in Colombia show how commons transform how we think and act.

Contributors to the book consist of an illustrious group of 52 activists, academics, journalists, technologists and project leaders from 20 countries. They include celebrated public intellectuals like Dame Anne Salmond of New Zealand, evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson, anthropologist Arturo Escobar, and eco-philosopher Andreas Weber. The book’s contributors are part of a wider cultural movement that is inventing new systems for growing food, rethinking cities as commons, co-learning outside of hierarchical schools, and reimagining local development.

In the coming few weeks, I will be posting chapters from Patterns of Commoning here to share some of the more interesting commons profiles with readers of this blog. Tomorrow, I will post a great interview with my colleague Silke Helfrich, who speaks about the book, contemporary commoning and our collaboration.