Kevin St. Martin: "Cartography of the Commons: Taking Action in a Rights-Based World"

OCT 08, 2020 | 4:00 PM TO 5:30 PM





October 08, 2020: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM




Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC)



Policies that privilege privatization as the solution to ecological and economic crises in marine resource management are now standard practice despite resistance from fishing communities and warnings from social scientists that such policies will lead to consolidation of common wealth into the hands of a few. Yet within and, indeed, as a response to neoliberal resource management initiatives, community economy and commons practices continue to emerge. From coastal Maine to coastal Maharashtra we see economic and market innovations as well as re-territorializations which foreground community and environmental wellbeing over privatization and accumulation.

While the weight of case study evidence encourages us to re-think commons practices as decidedly more widespread, expansive, and productive than our capitalist imaginaries have allowed, innovative research and development practices are needed to not only imagine but enact commons as a global possibility rather than only a local aberration. Therefore, we propose that researchers and development specialists engage in an ontological politics that reconstitutes commons as present and possible precisely in those sites (e.g. scientific laboratories, federal agencies, policy development forums, and stakeholder meetings) where neoliberal environmental regimes are forged. "Thinking together" and "metrological interventions" are forms of research and development practice which we have used to co-produce community and commons possibilities in just such sites. Our goal is to build the ontological foundations for future commoning practices across scales and outside of a confining capital-o-centric frame.

Kevin St. Martin is an Associate Professor of Geography at Rutgers University. He is a human geographer whose work is at the intersection of economic geography, political ecology, and critical cartography. His work includes critical analyses of economic and resource management discourse as well as participatory projects that work to rethink economy and foster economic and environmental wellbeing. Dr. St. Martin’s projects have in common the regulation and transformation of the marine environment. In particular, he uses the paradigmatic case of fisheries in the U.S. Northeast to better understand the power of discourse, data, and devices to shape economic and environmental outcomes. His work is published in top academic geography and marine policy journals and he has recently edited a volume titled Making Other Worlds Possible: Performing Diverse Economies. Dr. St. Martin is an editor of the Diverse Economies and Liveable Worlds book series, he is an associate editor for Maritime Studies, and he serves on the advisory board for the Floating Laboratory of Action and Theory at Sea (FLOATS).