Enclosures

A few words about the notion of enclosure.

Enclosures are not here held to be intrinsically bad news. All language and image-making and indeed clothes and even the seat you are likely to be occupying, are forms of enclosure, as are the traffic systems, tax codes, CV’s, doors and locks that seem necessary for a functioning civil society.

Enclosures of commons become problematic and often unjust when they involve claims of ownership:

    • Privatised languages
    • Sequestered knowledge
    • Monetized relationships
    • Social exclusion
    • Despotic governance

These qualities tend to be strongly present (but not exclusively so) in professions such as law, the military, science, academia, medicine and psychology.

§ One Response to Enclosures

  • Some ideas linked to this:

    Citizenship: The relationship between citizenship and the psyCommons, and Jurgen Habermas’ conception of the public sphere. Habermas saw the public sphere as a space between authority and private life (state-market) that developed from around 1750 onwards ‘in which citizens could meet informally, exchange views on public matters’. This happened in public spaces such as public squares, coffeehouses, museums, restaurants as well as newspapers, journals and even theatre performances ‘as a counterweight to government and check on its’ powers.’
    Habermas published a book called ‘the structural transformation of the public sphere’ which notes while civil and political rights eventually expanded to include more people, the public sphere shrank and became commercialized. This may tie in with the culture of ‘improvement’ (enclosure) taking hold as a feature of John Locke’s political theory and in English property law through court decisions on property rights in favour of exclusive private property to the exclusion of all other use rights, customary and common and the dispossession of small producers and indigenous peoples, etc.

    Also, T.H. Marshall argued that Citizenship constituted a ‘vortex’ of competing ideas and currents and a contradiction between formal political equality the persistence of social and economic inequality. We can also understand citizenship as having a long history of exclusion, which links in to the idea of boundaries/enclosures.

    I wonder how Citizenship might link with the psyCommons.

    Technical Reasoning: interrelated to or in addition to privatised knowledge, despotic governance, monetized relationships, sequestered knowledge and social exclusion…technical Reasoning is a productive form of thinking but without politically or ethically informed judgment can be unreflexive and lead to the objectification of people and nature. Intrinsic values such as creativity and meaningfulness are subordinated to instrumental values which can lead to the monopoly of expertise. I’m guessing this may figure somewhere in psyenclosure.

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