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Reinventing Collectivity? The 'Rediscovery' of Commonality. An Investigation of Discours-es and Practices of Urban Co-housing

Starting from the debates around commons, the subproject examines collectives that constitute themselves through the common production and utilisation of urban residential space. Embedded in the research group's interest in the interconnections of law, gender and collectivity, the subproject asks how, in co-housing projects, law and gender configure and help constitute the conditions of possibility and spaces of imagination for practical explorations in search of a concrete, quotidian commonality. The subproject focuses on forms of collectivity in a domain of life that the modern era has regarded as the epitome of privacy, individuality, and familial, gendered intimacy. Yet in the modern social state, housing - as a public task - is subject to social-policy regulation and legislation, which has shown an increasing tendency to shift responsibility onto individuals and market-based control mechanisms in the course of the transformation of the social state since the 1970s. The subproject begins from observations of a reactualisation of community - a process that is understood as a quest for a new, non-abstract commons, for new spaces of commonality. In line with a critical ontology of the present, therefore, the sub-project interprets forms and practices of collectivisation in co-housing as specific responses to a historical situation in which sociality is constituted to a substantial degree by the abstract socialisation of individualised actors. The subproject will address three interrelated dimensions. Firstly, it will examine the current discursification of communal living as a potential answer to contemporary social problems, which provides an opportunity to ask how community is negotiated in present-day collective knowledge bases, how a situation of social crisis is discursified in that context, and in what forms communal living has arisen in response. Secondly, it will trace the constellation of local institutions, programmes and processes in the city-state of Berlin, as an arena featuring particular conditions of possibility and suc-cess for co-housing projects. Thirdly, the subproject will investigate everyday practices in co-housing projects and ask how these produce and sustain housing-related collectives.

Team: Sabine Hark  Hanna Meißner  Bettina Barthel  Vanessa Einbrodt