Exploring ‘festive commoning’ in radical gatherings in Scotland

Sophia Woodman*, Andreas Zaunseder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on immersive ethnographic fieldwork at three events in Scotland, all grounded in ecological sensibilities and focusing respectively on alternative medicine, music and reviving seasonal celebrations, this article illuminates aspects of what we call ‘festive commoning’. We ask: how, and to what extent, were commons ‘against and beyond’ capital produced in these gatherings? We re-read a history of resistance to festive autonomy in this light, as a continuing struggle against capitalist enclosures of time, space, knowledge, history and being in the world. We argue that alternative grassroots gatherings can produce a ‘festive commons’ that resists such enclosures, including breaking down divisions between self and other, human and non-human beings. Such processes generate collective joy, and enliven the radical imagination. Experiencing festive commons is not only an aspect of the pleasure valued in some radical traditions, but also makes another world possible, even if only a temporary one.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date10 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Oct 2021


  • collective joy
  • commoning
  • festive commons
  • radical imagination
  • social reproduction


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