The vitality of the new field of study on the commons crosses the entire field of social sciences, and it is analyzed from very different perspectives. On the one side, the Ostromian new Institutional economics uses the term commons as plural and seeks to give an account of the variety of the institutional forms of economic regulation. On the other, some new approaches interpret commons as an element of subversion of capitalism. These authors insist on the use of the concept as singular and they interpret it as a general principle of reorganization of economy and society. This article aims at analyzing the meanings of common and commons at stake in this debate. After a critical assessment of Elinor Ostrom’s contribution, the analysis will focus on the presentation of the theories of common as singular, distinguishing two currents of thought: the political conception of Dardot and Laval and the neo-workerist thesis of common as mode of production.

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