Titolo della tesi: (REFLEXIONS) ON DESIGN AS/FOR COMMON(S) Decolonial Participatory Experiences for Post-Capitalist Resilient Future(s)
The catastrophic effects of human action on the planet are becoming increasingly evident; the term Anthropocene indicates the current geological epoch in which our species have become a primary driver for global environmental change and the main geological force on Earth. Many have deplored the unsustainability of capitalism making the future uncertain. The dystopian imaginaries of the future, suggest the need of shifting paradigms beyond development and growth. In this sense the “commons” have been promoted as an alternative for a transition to a post-capitalist economy. Different movements in both the Global North/West and the Global South/East are challenging the status quo, as new forms of governance and collective action concretely implemented by communities to protect and maintain the shared resources entrusted to them. These “neomaterialist” movements aim to anticipate the end of fossil fuels, climatic disturbances or food supply disruptions by locally building small systems that will better withstand future economic, social and ecological shocks. They are thus offering alternative means of organization in response to the Anthropocene. In the same context of the Anthropocene, design is called to reinvent itself. It is at the center of unsustainable production/consumption systems. However, in many of its contemporary forms, it aims to improve the livability of the world as a projector or corrector. Design for Social Innovation could support the aspirations of highly vulnerable communities by proposing solutions to problems that neither the market nor the state have solved. But design for social innovation has been characterized within an economic and cultural context — that of the consumer economy and where social innovation has always been understood as a “humanitarian” action. Some scholars denounce such practices, which are devoid of a political sense and take for granted the social problems that the designers want to solve, and that therefore do not question the broader global mechanisms producing them. In this context some call for decolonizing from the tyranny of cold, “Western” abstractions. In Tunisia, climate change is expected to have major impacts on the country's agriculture, economy and households by intensifying already high poverty and unemployment. Recent literature clearly links migration to the challenge of food security and climate change; speaking of (climate) migration as a symptom of the Anthropocene. This is related to others' criticism of the lack of political will to address the fundamental problems of the Mediterranean with policies that address symptoms rather than causes. Among the country's academics, several voices are calling for a real change in the trajectory of the economic model, to reflect on new ways of developing the agrifood system to build food sovereignty and remedy the effects of dependent (colonized) and exporting agriculture; thus moving away from the methods advocated by the Green Revolution (seeds, pesticides, fertilizers). From the outset, we have been interested in the specific contexts of oases. The oasis context concentrates, in a way, all the problems we have outlined. In fact, these are artificial, anthropized and cultivated spaces in the heart of vast arid zones, which for thousands of years have adopted a complex social organization of solidarity and commoning around water. Oases are therefore sustainable spaces by definition, where the commons are fundamentally a tradition. Today, oases are experiencing the effects of climate change, but also those of development and growth, which have almost disrupted the social folds around the commons. We can say that oases are commons economies in crisis. We wanted to verify if design had a role to play in this context. We focused on the cases of Chenini and Jemna as two landmarks in the social and environmental movements that have developed in Tunisia since the revolution. The first is the Chenini oasis, located in the coastal area of Gabes, known for its pollution due to phosphate production, where farmers continue to perpetuate ancestral practices of multi-level cultivation and water catchment. The second is the Jemna oasis in Nefzaoua, the country's main date-producing region. The oasis has become the symbol of peasant resistance and has been the scene of the emergence of a local and pluralist civil society, the learning of participatory democracy and the pioneering experience of the social and solidarity economy in Tunisia. Accordingly, the question is: If design was born and developed in the consumer economy, does design exist in the commons economy? If so, what are the practices for design to play a role in the commons economy? Considering that design for social innovation has always been characterised in a Western-centred economic/cultural context, that of the market economy, and where social innovation has always been understood as humanitarian action, is it possible to identify the characteristics of a socially and politically engaged design that takes into account the perspective of the South? What design practice could restore hope? Following the different perspectives on commoning/community economies we managed to “inhabit” the two contexts. Without the "ambition" of improving the livability of the world we carried out a collaborative design experiment rooted in the present, adopting a post-development/feminist line of thought. Could design contribute to prefiguring the forms of collective action that aim to improve the resilience of the oasian communities to the near-future climate change and water scarcity issues. What is the role of design in constructing post-capitalist imaginaries through the perspectives of the commons and Radical Imagination? In a commons economy, the idea would be to comprehend the role of design in helping to shift paradigms from an extractivist growth economy to a resource economy; a design attached to situations instead of objects.