Source: S A Hamed Hosseini. (2023). Compartmentality. Qeios. doi:10.32388/3C5OSS.
Compartmentality (noun): A cognitive and practical state characterized by the tendency to compartmentalize the deeply entangled dimensions of “life-domain,” typically into the ecological, political, economic, and social spheres, without adequately recognizing their interconnectedness and interdependencies. It arises from a reductionist mindset that separates and isolates these aspects, potentially hindering a comprehensive understanding of their complex relationships and limiting the exploration of transformative possibilities within the pluriverse. Compartmentality obscures the inherent interplay and potential synergies among different dimensions, hindering the development of integrated approaches that address systemic challenges and promote collective and regenerative alternatives.
Compartmentality is not a natural state but rather a product of the decommonization of life under the dominant modernist and capitalist value regime. As the collective and regenerative ways of living in commons (and as commons) are reified and commodified into capitalist value bearers, th
e compartmentalization of life becomes a perceived necessity. This compartmentality is then reinforced and normalized through various systems, including education and knowledge production, which perpetuate a reductionist mindset that separates and isolates different dimensions of life.
The relationships among the fundamental sources of true value  in the commonist state of living are characterized by their organic nature, transcending boundaries, functions, and hierarchies. These relationships enable decentralized flows of care, power, and information, forming a cohesive and interconnected whole. These fundamental value sources represent a higher commons, constituting the life-domain in commonist living. They function as vital organs within an organism, deriving their vitality from the collective wholeness of the life-domain.
However, under the capitalist framework, the organic interconnections among these fundamental value sources, namely creativity, liveability, conviviality, and alterity, become mechanistic and fragmented. They are compartmentalized into socio-economic, socio-ecological, socio-cultural, and socio-political categories, governed by mechanical interactions. This compartmentality within the capitalist system disregards the undermined yet persisting intrinsic interplays and potential synergies among these dimensions, leading to a reductionist and fragmented understanding of their interdependence.
The compartmentalization of these value sources reflects the dominance of a mechanistic mindset that prioritizes individual aspects over their interconnectedness. This reductionist approach obstructs the recognition of the organic relationships and potential synergies that arise from their holistic integration. By compartmentalizing these dimensions, the capitalist system hinders the development of integrated approaches that address systemic challenges and promote collective well-being within the pluriverse. However, we need to bear in mind that the ‘actually existing pluriverse’ of alternatives to capital is not immune to compartmentality. This necessitates pathological and critical studies of the pluriverse of post-capital alternatives and their associated transformative movements.
Recognizing the shift from organic interconnections to mechanistic compartmentalization sheds light on the limitations imposed by the capitalist value regime. It underscores the importance of embracing a commonist perspective that acknowledges the organic and interconnected nature of the fundamental value sources. By transcending compartmentality and embracing holistic approaches, we can nurture a more ‘integrated’ and ‘regenerative’ relationship with the pluriverse, fostering collective well-being and transformative possibilities.
An example of compartmentality can be observed in frameworks like the Measure of Australia's Progress (MAP), where societal progress is compartmentalized into mechanistically interrelated domains such as society, economy, environment, and governance. This approach, while providing a structured means of measurement, fails to adequately recognize the interconnectedness and interdependencies between these dimensions.
The consequences of compartmentality, in this case for instance, include a fragmented approach to policymaking and decision-making, unintended consequences due to the lack of systemic thinking, and the inability to identify synergies and trade-offs between different dimensions. It obstructs the development of integrated solutions that address systemic challenges to collective wellbeing and promote regenerative alternatives. In essence, compartmentality undermines our capacity to holistically address the interconnected issues of our time and inhibits the pursuit of regenerative, equitable, and inclusive progress.
^S A Hamed Hosseini. (2023). Capital as ‘fetish value’ has no ‘true value’: Beyond the Divide between the Analytical and the Normative. doi:10.31235/osf.io/vahny.
^Hosseini S A H and Gills B K. (2024). Capital Redefined: A Commonist Value Theory for Liberating Life (1st ed.). Routledge.. Routledge.
^S A Hamed Hosseini. (2023). Labor Redefined: Toward a Commonist Value Theory of Labor under and beyond Capital. doi:10.31235/osf.io/ev2m3.
'Life-domain' refers to a comprehensive and interconnected entity encompassing all living beings and their environment on planet Earth. It encompasses the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere, and includes microorganisms, plants, and animals. The concept of the life-domain emphasizes the interdependence and interconnectedness of all life forms, underscoring the significance of maintaining the health and balance of the natural world for the well-being of human and non-human societies and future generations.
The life-domain encompasses not only the ecological aspects but also human social systems and cultural practices that both shape and are shaped by the living world. It is a holistic domain that incorporates social, economic, and ecological dimensions of life, recognizing their relative autonomy. By using the term 'domain,' we acknowledge both control and power relations, as well as the need for responsibility and stewardship.
Unlike the concept of the 'web of life,' the life-domain encompasses the sociology and anthropology of conflictual power relations, recognizing the influence of class conflict and other social inequalities in shaping human interactions with the natural world. Moreover, it emphasizes the importance of social and environmental justice, highlighting the need to address issues of inequality and exploitation in our relationship with the broader natural environment.
Source: S A Hamed Hosseini. (2023). Life-domain. Qeios. doi:10.32388/5QHJSF.
Transversalism "is identified by its being founded on an evolutionary move into a post-capitalist network of democratically governed relatively autonomous alternative systems, and by the strong aspiration to build meaningful common (shared) ideological and political action orientations that transcend counterproductive divisions among transformative movements. It seeks an accommodative mode of social consciousness centered on a common ground for dialogue, collective learning, and concrete action among multiple progressive identities and ideological visions within the field of transformative movement praxes. Transversalism grounds its interpretation of cosmopolitanist values on recognizing but not being limited to local, grassroots, and communal particularities. It aims at consolidating political coalitions and ideational accommodation between social groups on both a class and a non-class basis. Therefore, it does not imply uniformity, a general theory of social emancipation and the collapse of differences, autonomies and local identities. This requires an attitude of openness and the intention of exchanging mutual experiences (via engagement of Self with Others) and ideas across a variety of local fields of transformative movements of resistance.
Transversalism grounds cosmopolitanist values on local, grassroots and communal particularities. This requires openness and the intention of exchanging experiences and ideas across a variety of local fields of resistance. Transversalism consists of following elements: (1) recognition of diversity and difference, (2) dialogue (deliberation across differences), (3) systemic self-reflection, (4) intentional openness (intention to explore the reality of the Other), (5) critical awareness of the inter-sectional nature of power relations that affects interconnections, and finally (6) commitment to create alterity through hybridization and creolization of ideas and deeds.