Digital Commons for the Ecological Transition: Ethics, Praxis and Policies

  • Sébastien Shulz Université Technologique de Compiègne
  • Mathieu O’Neil University of Canberra
  • Sébastien Broca Université Paris 8
  • Angela Daly University of Dundee
Keywords: digital commons, ecological transition, technological sobriety, anticapitalist strategies


The article seeks to understand how the digital commons movement addresses ecological issues, how its actors incorporate them into their ethics and praxis, and the challenges they face in scaling up to become a viable ecological alternative to digital capitalism. Building on three case studies, we show that the digital commons currently face three major limitations: reliance on unsustainable Big Tech products, inability or unwillingness to scale up, and negligible political support. Based on two Policy Labs we conducted with actors of the digital commons movement, we conclude by outlining proposals to overcome these limits by adopting E.O. Wright’s anti-capitalist strategies framework.

Author Biographies

Sébastien Shulz, Université Technologique de Compiègne

Sébastien Shulz is a post-doctoral researcher at the COSTECH lab, Université de Technologie de Compiègne. He is the co-leader of the digital commons working group at the Centre Internet et Société. He co-founded the association Pour une société des communs (For a Society of the Commons). He researches digital technologies, democracy and new forms of production.

Mathieu O’Neil, University of Canberra

Mathieu O’Neil is a Professor of Communication at the University of Canberra and an Honorary Associate Professor of Sociology at the ANU, where he co-founded the VOSON Lab. He researches digital commons, information literacy and online issue networks. He founded the Journal of Peer Production in 2011 and the Digital Commons Policy Council in 2021.

Sébastien Broca, Université Paris 8

Sébastien Broca is Associate Professor of Communication at Université Paris 8. He researches digital commons and critiques of Big Tech. He published Utopie du logiciel libre (The Free Software Utopia) in 2013.

Angela Daly, University of Dundee

Angela Daly is Professor of Law and Technology at the University of Dundee and is a founding member of the Digital Commons Policy Council. She works on data governance and justice from a socio-legal perspective.

Critical Perspectives on Digital Capitalism 3: Domination in Digital Capitalism