Skip to main content

affect theory

Becoming a commoner: The commons as sites for affective socio-nature encounters and co-becomings


Let us begin with the story of a pasture ‘open to all’ and the herdsman and his herd of sheep that Garrett Hardin uses to illustrate his prediction of the ‘tragedy of the commons’. Hardin’s herdsman, as a ‘rational being’, strives to maximize his gains by adding sheep to his herd until his actions inevitably lead to the degradation of the common grazing pasture (Hardin, 1968). In this ‘mini-maxi’ model of humans, where humans are seen to minimize efforts or inputs and maximize returns (Graeber, 2001: 6), the affective life of the shepherd is muted.

Subscribe to affect theory