Pietro Antonio Valentino

Culture as commons: from the definitions to forms of governance and government

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Common Pool Resources; Commons; Cultural Goods; Capabilities; Governance; Self-Government; Non-Profit Firm.

The purpose of this essay is to show all the criteria proposed in the literature to include «culture» (cultural and artistic expressions, heritage, processes and institutions) in the set of «the commons» and the effects of different definitions of «culture as a common» on the production and management processes. The essay is divided into three parts. In the first one, the different criteria and definitions of commons (from that of Elinor Ostrom to the latest ones) are analysed, emphasizing the shift from «objective» to «political» criteria. In the second part, it is analysed how the different definitions of commons affect the identification of «cultural» elements that could be included in this specific set. The analysis shows that the strongest criteria that transform a cultural goods in the commons is not objective or technological but social. An object (artwork or artifact for everyday life, tangible or intangible) becomes a cultural good, and then it could be included in the set of commons, when it «symbolizes» some aspect of the common «identity» of a community. Only in these cases, the members of a community will take directly care of the management of these objects by contributing (partially or totally) with subsidies (financial or of other nature) to their preservation and enhancement and ensuring free access. In the last part, it is examined how self-organized e self-governed processes work when «culture» is included in the set of commons.

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