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The commons represent both the naturals systems (water, air, soil, forests, oceans, etc.) and the cultural patterns and traditions (intergenerational knowledge ranging from growing and preparing food, medicinal practices, arts, crafts, ceremonies, etc.) that are shared without cost by all members of the community; nature of the commons varies in terms of different cultures and bioregions; what has not been transformed into market relationships; the basis of mutual support systems and local democracy; in the modern world the commons may be managed and thus kept from becoming enclosed through private and corporate ownership by being managed by local and national government—municipal water systems and state and national parks are contemporary examples of the commons.
Conservatism as both a cultural and biological process is characteristic of the multiple languaging processes of a culture and, at the biological level, the way in which genes reproduce themselves over many generations—with only minor variation; places an emphasis on carrying forward the genuine achievements of the past (including gains made in achieving greater social justice); represents the conceptual and moral orientation of environmentalists and people working to sustain the commons as sites of resistance to economic and ideological globalization; relies upon critical reflection as one of the many approaches to conserving the non-monetized traditions of the community; based on fundamentally different assumptions than those taken for granted by liberal thinkers.
- Critical Inquiry
A way of thinking that is essential to scientific inquiry, and to the renewal and, in some instance, the overturning of international knowledge and practices; when understood and practiced within the context of other cultural approaches to the renewal of knowledge and community critical inquiry can contribute to the quality of human life; when it is based on assumptions about the autonomous nature of the individual, that change is inherently progressive, and that it is the only valid approach to knowledge, critical inquiry can contribute to the form of subjectivity that is required by the industrial/consumer dependent culture
The practices, beliefs, traditions, moral norms that give the people a common sense of identity and way of understanding their relationship to the environment and to each other; cultures are as varied as the world’s language—and they disappearance as their language disappears; vary in terms of how the commons is understood and sustained (or degraded); they may be driven by an ideology (and religion) that causes them to become reactionary, a colonizing power, and environmentally destructive; The complex and varied traditions of a culture are reproduced with only minor variations in the languaging processes that are the basis of thought and communication—which are largely taken-for-granted even by social theorists who mistakenly represent the individual as autonomous and critically reflective, and thus as uninfluenced by their culture’s deep epistemological patterns of thinking.
RD Glossary by Run Digital