Conference theme and tracks

With the theme of the conference, “Practicing the Commons: Self-Governance, Cooperation, and Institutional Change”, we intend to bring together the fast growing body of scientific knowledge on the commons as an alternative governance model from all over the world. The increasing popularity of commons as a governance model is visible across the Netherlands, as well as elsewhere around the world. Citizens increasingly form new collectives to provide energy, care, food, et cetera, and work together on the basis of self-governance and reciprocity.

Underneath you find an overview of the main themes to be addressed, including a list of potential research questions that might be the topic of paper presentations.


Conference tracks

including examples of possible research questions that can be addressed

1. Recipes for resilient cooperation

* How did the management and use of commons evolve over time?

* Does the longevity of an institution for collective action have a positive effect on continuation? What is the role of path dependency in long‐enduring commons?

* Which factors influence(d) the emergence and continuation of commons?

* In what way does management of common pool resources depend on the type of resource?

* …

2. Issues of exclusion and control in the formation, defense and governance of commons

* Who sets the boundaries to commons?

* Do commons with strict boundaries/access rules suffer less from freeriding than those with vague, open boundaries? Does openness always affect resilience negatively?

* Can technology help to make commons more inclusive?

* What are the moral implications of limiting access to common pool resources?

* Which instruments for monitoring, controlling and sanctioning behavior can be found in in self‐governing institutions and how do these evolve over time?

* What is the impact of group size and composition on the commons’ functioning?

* How does inclusion and exclusion work in digital resources governed as commons?

* …

3. The impact of the commons

* What role can commons play in enhancing food security?

* Do commons have a positive effect on livelihoods, well‐being, social justice, inequality?

* How can knowledge on commons be used to secure the future of global resources?

* How can (knowledge on) local resource governance contribute to mitigating climate change?

* What is the impact of technological change on self‐governance and resource appropriation?

* In what way does management of common pool resources depend on the type of resource?

* …

4. Methods and models to study the commons

* How can institutional change on the commons be studied (methodology, coding of case studies, individual cases)?

* How can micro‐/macro‐relations be modelled to understand our functioning of commons?

* How can our current knowledge on natural resource commons be used to improve our understanding of collective action in digital environments, genetics, etc., and vice versa?

* …

5. Polycentric governance of global resources

* How can polycentric governance contribute to governing global resources?

* Which are the legal constraints to polycentric governance?

* What can be the impact of local change on the future of global resources?

* How and in which ways is leadership important in polycentric governance?

* …

6. Crisis on the commons?

* How do commoners overcome periods of extreme stress and crisis?

* Are commons as governance regimes more resilient to shocks and crisis, compared to e.g. state or market-governed resources?

* How well can commoners mediate conflicts both within their own group and with other groups within society?

* How to study failure instead of success of commons?

* …

7. Commons and the city

* For which urban spaces and resources can commons be a viable alternative governance model?

* Which specific opportunities and challenges does the urban environment offer to commons’ initiatives?

* How to establish durable collaboration between commons and local governments?

* …

8. Corporations, governments, and commons

* What impact do businesses and private investment have on the commons?

* What role can commons play in the struggle for land rights, of in particular indigenous communities?

* Which role can local and national governments play in the development of new commons?

* …