This editorial introduces the Special Section “Commons and Social Movements”, which centers on how social movements and commons initiatives shape each other. The Section responds to the recent momentum gained by the “commons movement” in Europe and across the world, as well as the consolidation of a critical scholarship that expands the frontiers of institutional ecological economics for the study of the commons. The diversity of contributions included in the Section illustrates the novelty of the topic. Still, some transversal themes emerge, including the coevolution of movements and commons, the role of heterogeneities, and cross-scalar dynamics. Also promising are the authors' efforts to put the commons and social movement theories in dialogue via concepts like water rooted collectives, management opportunity structures, collective reactions to commons grabbing or liminal commons. Also important is the common understanding across all contributions about the potential of commons movements as sustainability transformation actors. Commons movements can break policy status quos but also prefigure, perform and scale up-and-out alternatives. This is probably the main take home message of this Section and we hope also a motivation to further a research agenda around it.