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Repair Movements’ Commoning Practices. The Case of the Bike-Kitchen in Sweden.

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare María José Zapata Campos
Maria Isabel Ordonez
Patrik Zapata
Publicerad i Opening the Bin – Helsingborg, Sweden, April 27 – 29, 2017
Publiceringsår 2017
Publicerad vid Förvaltningshögskolan
Företagsekonomiska institutionen
Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
Centre for Business in Society
Språk en
Ämneskategorier Företagsekonomi, Studier av offentlig förvaltning, Sociologi


In response to the current consume-and-discard society, the last years have seen a rapid proliferation of collective mobilizations around repair and maintenance, aimed at challenging the patterns of production and consumption within neoliberal capitalism. This paper contributes to current efforts to expand environmental movement and organization studies theories with the urban commons literature to explore the role of maintenance, repair and care in ‘commoning’- or in other words creating urban commons. The paper is informed by the case of the Bike-Kitchen in Gothenburg, a bicycle repair workshop where abandoned bikes are recovered and given to members who are taught to repair them. In-depth interviews, ethnographical and visual observations support the analysis. In the paper we show how through their repairing practices, these movements develop the ability to reinvent, appropriate, and provide urban commons by transforming private assets –the bikes- and space, on their own terms, as an alternative to market and State. As it has also been observed in life-style movements, our analysis also notes how the openness of the commons movement, fuels a broad recruitment of participants driven by diverse rationales and motivations. The paper shows the ability of commoners to imagine and create the value-to-be and the affordances in these assets; as well as to develop the knowledge, competences and practices needed to recover and repair the bikes and create new urban commons. It also shows how these movements, without overtly expressing a conscious political action, challenge dominant institutions such as private ownership and recall alternative imaginaries through ideas of environmental stewardship, and duties of care.

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