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Queer Commons. Undoing Property Formations in Sexuality

Project leader:
Tyan Fritschy

2 years

Funded by:
Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW)

Tyan Fritschy, Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies
Duration: 1.7.2022 – 30.6.2024

As a legacy of colonial modernity, property is undoubtedly one of the most powerful social formations. It affects not only our relation to the world of external objects, but also the most intimate aspects of our lives: intimacy, sexuality, and the way they are experiences through and as sexed bodies. The thesis Queer Commons. Undoing Property Formations in Sexuality makes sense of the encroachment of property upon the erotic and relational capacity of our bodies as an impoverishment and calls for the societal commonization of such relational-erotic richness. Yet it does so not in terms of a re-appropriation, but of a sharing-out.

Property involves the promise of predictability, stability, and security. It colonizes and homogenizes the future with the colonial-capitalist coordinates of the past and forecloses other – more just, vibrant, and habitable – versions of the world. Yet the present moment is heralding a tectonic shift in the proprietary make-up of the world: A class of dispossessed set out to remake the world in their own terms, thereby loosening the grip of the paradigm of property. At the same time the increasing ecological deterioration makes linear predictability impossible. Such world out of joint is countered by a brutal and frightening reinforcement of the property logic of an emergent fascism.

What thrives – and has always thrived – beyond the gravitational forces of liberalism and fascism are the Queer Commons that destabilizes the proprietary regime of sexuality. The dissertation Queer Commons. Undoing Property Formations in Sexuality also gathers counter-histories, literary fictions and imaginations of a commons and common bodies that anticipate and enact dispossessive modes of being-in-common and experiments in queer world-making. Crucially, such undoing of the property formations in sexuality requires getting attuned to an affective regime that is based on indeterminacy.

Keywords: property, sexuality, relationality, commons, affect