Resilience in Socio-Ecological Systems

MW 1:30-3:20, Denny 401

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1. Key Concepts
2. Key Concepts Cont.
3. Sustainability
4. China Example
5. Commons
6. Anthropology
7. Management
8. Critiques
9. Resonances

The Resilience Alliance
Ecology and Society

Class Schedule: Week 5 Resilience and the Commons

Particularly in the field of natural resource ecology, economy, and governance, there has been a big dispute over whether common-property regimes (CPRs) are a good way of governing access to and management of natural resources. We will examine CPRs this week in light of resilience theory.

Monday, April 29: Two very important theorists for today:
  • We begin, as all discussions of this topic must, with Garrett Hardin's 1968 article, The Tragedy of the Commons, which not only remains the foundational text in this area, but has passed into public discourse in a very misleading way. It's worth your time to re-read it: Hardin, Garrett. 1968. The Tragedy of the Commons. Science, New Series, Vol. 162, No. 3859 pp. 1243-1248.
  • We then move on to the more important work of Elinor Ostrom, whose Governing the Commons (1990) has become the standard reference differentiating CPRs from open-access property regimes. Read chapters 1 and 3, "Reflections on the commons" and "Analyzing long-enduring CPRs." Read especially carefully the sections on design principles for successful CPRs.
When you have read the work of these two giants in the field, by 10:00 a.m. please post 200-300 words on why you think the idea of the tragedy of the commons has entered public discourse and public policy. In class, we will argue about the reasons you speculate, and also try to formalize the theory of the ToC and begin to think about situations in which it would or would not apply.

Wednesday, May 1: We will connect discussions of the commons with discussions of resilience, from Ostrom and others. After reading the articles below, post 200-300 words on he topic of how resilience is connected to the longevity of common-property regimes.