Congress Commons: Citizens, Law and Governments organized by Oikos Belgium – Brussels, 4 December 2015

The independent socio-ecological platform Oikos.be organizes the one-day conference ‘Commons: Citizens, Law and Governments’, which will be held in the Royal Library in Brussels, 4 December 2015. The focus of this conference will be on the challenges new forms of cooperation, such as commons, have to offer, as well as the challenges they have to face. New forms of cooperation often meet resistance: current legislation primarily favors private property, as governments do not want to loosen their bureaucratic control. Commons however offer unique opportunities for a sustainable society. Resources managed by local communities can provide a guarantee against overexploitation, cities can revitalize through urban commons initiatives. The challenge is to develop new partnerships between citizens and governments, with new laws and stimulating mechanisms for citizen engagement, and to anticipate on potential problems and new challenges. The program involves not only lectures by renown scholars in the field of commons, but also presentations of practical examples of such new initiatives. Attending this conference is free of charge, but registration is required. Read more about this conference here or register directly via this link.

Call for panels, papers, and posters Regional European Conference (Bern, 10-13 May 2016) - deadline for abstracts EXTENDED until 30 November 2015

The organizers of the 4th Regional European IASC-Conference welcome abstract proposals for panels, papers, and posters for the 4th Regional European IASC-Conference, to be held in Bern, 10-13 May 2016. The main theme of the conference will be 'Commons in a "Glocal" World: Global Connections and Local Responses'. This conference therefore aims to look at the interfaces between local and global processes in order to bring together research arenas that have often been kept quite separate until now. We especially welcome contributions that aim to address the above mentioned themes through novel forms of integrating theoretical approaches. In addition, the focus of the conference will be on a dialogue among representatives of different academic disciplines (e.g. geography, social anthropology, history, development studies, economics, political science, and law) and between academics and non-academic actors (e.g. practitioners, business representatives, policy makers, or NGOs).. > Click here for the call

New publication on reconstructing historical populations from genealogical data

The academic journal Feminist Economics very recently has published an online article by affiliated researcher and our former research team member Felix Meier zu Selhausen, entitled ‘What Determines Women's Participation in Collective Action? Evidence from a Western Ugandan Coffee Cooperative’. Women smallholders face greater constraints than men in accessing capital and commodity markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. Collective action has been promoted to remedy those disadvantages. Using survey data of 421 women members and 210 nonmembers of a coffee producer cooperative in Western Uganda, this study investigates the determinants of women’s participation in cooperatives and women’s intensity of participation. The results highlight the importance of access to and control over land for women to join the cooperative in the first place. Participation intensity is measured through women’s participation in collective coffee marketing and share capital contributions. It is found that duration of membership, access to extension services, more equal intra-household power relations, and joint land ownership positively influence women’s ability to commit to collective action. These findings demonstrate the embeddedness of collective action in gender relations and the positive value of women’s active participation for agricultural-marketing cooperatives. > Read the article online.

New publication on reconstructing historical populations from genealogical data

Team member Corry Gellatly is the author of the chapter 'Reconstructing Historical Populations from Genealogical Data Files', which forms part of the edited book Population Reconstruction, edited by Gerrit Bloothooft et al. In his chapter, Gellatly explores the advantages of the use of genealogical data (such as combining information from many sources into a format structured by family relations and descendancy) for studying the dynamics of population change over generations, while also adressing the issue of how to assess the quality of data and which measures to put in place to detect and correct errors in those data. The other chapters in Population Reconstruction also deal with issues involved in using historical data in population reconstruction research.  > Click here for editor's info on the book

New publication on the relevance of historical comparisons for present-day dilemmas

Team member Anita Boele is one of the authors of the recent publication 'Vroeger voor vandaag. Heden-verledenvergelijkingen voor praktisch gebruik' ['The past for the present. Historical comparisons for practical use'], published in the most recent Beleid en Maatschappij [Policy and Society] magazine. Boele and co-authors Arjan van Dixhoorn and Pepijn van Houwelingen focus on how historians could offer new insights for present-day dilemmas by (re)discussing historical events and constellations and the effects this analysis might have for present-day societal issues.  > Click here for the article (PDF)

New book on 'The Dilemma of the Commoners' published

In its Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions Series, Cambridge University Press just published a new book by Tine De Moor, entitled The Dilemma of the Commoners. Understanding the Use of Common Pool Resources in Long-Term Perspective. In this book, De Moor addresses one of the classic problems in social science, known as 'the dilemma of the commons', in which land, water, and other resources held jointly by social or economic segments tend to be depleted sooner and to a greater extent than privately held assets. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many aspects of western European society changed fundamentally, including the abolition of common-property rights, which in itself was related to social and economic shifts in that same society. This book intends to put the debate on commons, commoners, and the disappearance of both throughout early modern and modern northwestern Europe in a new light, through new approaches and innovative methodologies, linking also the historical debate about the long-term evolution of commons to the present-day debates on common-pool resources, as well as touching upon various disciplines within the social sciences that work on commons issues.

> Click here for the publishers webpage   > Click here for the Google Scholar page on this book

IASC announces 5 new conferences for 2015-2017

At the XV IASC Biennial Conference, which was held in Edmonton last month, the IASC has announced several new conferences to be held within the next two years. The first conference was the 1st IASC Thematic Conference on Urban Commons, held in Bologna, 6-7 November 2015, and hosted by The Laboratory for the Governanca of Commons (LABGOV) and the Urban Law Center of Fordham University. Other conferences that have been announced are:

> IASC Regional Conference (Europe), Bern (Switzerland), 10-13 May 2016

> 3rd IASC Thematic Conference on Knowledge Commons, Paris (France), 20-21 October 2016

> IASC Regional Conference (N. America/Arctic), Anchorage, Alaska (USA), Fall 2016

> XVI IASC Biennial Meeting, Utrecht (The Netherlands), 10-14 July 2017

Click here to download an overview of all IASC-conferences 2015-2017

Research Team Institutions for Collective Action and Strategic Research Theme 'Institutions' of Utrecht University to host XVI IASC Biennial Conference (10-14 July 2017)

Recently, the Council of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC), has granted the organization of the XVI IASC Biennial Conference to the Research Team Institutions for Collective Action and the Strategic Research Theme 'Institutions', both based at Utrecht University. The XVI IASC Biennial Conference will be held from July 10-July 14, 2017 in the historical city centre of Utrecht. The central theme of this conference will be 'Practicing the Commons', focusing on the interaction between academic knowledge and practitioners' expertise and experience. The time schedule for submitting abstracts etc. is already available at the conference website; mote info will be available in due time. > Conference website

Secretariat of IASC moves from Mexico to Utrecht

As of July 1, 2015, the IASC Secretariat has moved from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) to Utrecht University. Also, there has been a shift of personell, as René van Weeren has become the new Exceutive Director of the IASC from July 1, 2015 onwards, succeeding the current Executive Director Simone Buratti. The new correspondence address will be: IASC, att. René van Weeren, Drift 6, 3512 BS, Utrecht, The Netherlands, phone +31 (0)30 253 63 28. The e-mail address will remain the same (iasc@iasc-commons.org), as well as the statutory address, as the IASC formally remains a US-based organziation.  > IASC-website