Varieties of alternativeness: Relational practices in collaborative housing in Vienna

Andrea Schikowitz (Corresponding author), Nina Pohler

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


This article develops an empirically grounded frame for analysing varieties of alternativeness, using the case of such collaborative housing groups in Vienna (so-called Baugruppen) which aim to overcome the commodification of housing as well as the standardisation in social housing provision. Through experimenting with alternative ways of organising and living together they strive for social and political change. Taking inspiration from literature on commoning and alternative spaces, the article draws on French pragmatist sociology as well as post-actor-network theory (ANT) and assemblage approaches to focus on relational practices and different kinds of commonality as a basis for collective action. It analyses varieties of alternativeness as relational constellations by tracing how different groups compose commonality amongst each other, and how they relate to various actors. In doing so, it contributes to a situated understanding of the relations and relational practices that sustain alternatives, as well as the possibilities of scaling and transformation that specific variations of alternative housing hold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-321
Number of pages21
JournalThe Sociological Review
Issue number2
Early online date10 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 504027 Special sociology
  • 509017 Social studies of science


  • alternatives
  • assemblages
  • collaborative housing
  • commonality
  • commoning


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