Newsletter - Vol. 14 - June 2015

Multidisciplinary workshop on cooperation – Utrecht University, 17 June 2015



On 17 June, Utrecht University's strategic theme Institutions for Open Societies organizes a multidisciplinary workshop on cooperation. The programme consists of presentations by senior as well as junior researchers from various disciplines and faculties of Utrecht University and the Utrecht School of Economics and provides ample room for discussion.  The workshop is open to all, but registration is required; you can simply do this by sending an e-mail expressing your interest to

New book ‘The Dilemma of the Commoners’ by Tine De Moor out now!

Recently, Cambridge University Press launched a new book by Tine De Moor in its Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions Series, entitled The Dilemma of the Commoners. Understanding the Use of Common Pool Resources in Long-Term Perspective. In this book, Tine De Moor deals with 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. Tine De Moor aims to link 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.  > Webpage CUP

XVIth IASC Biennial Conference to be held in Utrecht (10-14 July 2017)


After the successful 2015 Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons, the next Biennial Conference of the IASC will be held on 10-14 July 2017 and will be hosted by the Research Group Institutions for Collective Action at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Theme of this XVIth IASC Biennial Conference will be ‘Practicing the Commons’,  stressing the importance of the interaction between the practical expertise of commons practitioners and the research capabilities of academic experts in this field. The website for the 2017 Conference is already online!


But also check out the other IASC Conferences that will be organized between now and July 2017; please do note that being or becoming an IASC member will offer you a considerable deduction on conference participation fees.

Bologna (Italy), 6-7 November 2015, IASC Thematic Conference

‘The city as a commons: reconceiving urban space, common goods and city governance’


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

‘Commons in a 'glocal' world: global connections and local responses’


Paris (France), 20-21 October 2016, IASC Thematic Conference on Knowledge Commons ‘Advancing knowledge commons through legal & social changes’


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

‘Reality, richness, and responsibility of an arctic commons’


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

‘Practicing the Commons’, see

IASC Secretariat moves to Utrecht 

After already hosting the new President of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) from 15 January 2015, Utrecht University will also be hosting the Secretariat of the IASC from 1 July 2015 onwards. The Secretariat will be part of the Research Team Institutions for Collective Action and will be manned by Executive Director René van Weeren, taking over from former Executive Director Simone Buratti, who was affiliated with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Over the past months, Simone and René have worked together intensively in order to make the transfer of the Secretariat as smooth as possible. The new address of the IASC Secretariat will become: IASC Secretariat, att. René van Weeren (Executive Director), Drift 6, 3512 BS, Utrecht, The Netherlands, phone +31 (0)30 253 63 28. The e-mail address will remain the same:

Promotion former team member Felix Meier zu Selhausen


On 8 May 2105, our former team member Felix Meier zu Selhausen obtained his PhD from the Faculty of Humanities of Utrecht University after successfully defending his PhD thesis, entitled ‘Women’s Empowerment in Uganda: Colonial Roots and Contemporary Efforts, 1894-2012’. This thesis, existing of two parts, offers new empirical insights on women’s empowerment in colonial and present-day in Uganda. The first part offers a novel perspective on the long-term development of African male and female human capital formation, skills, labour market participation, intergenerational social mobility, and marriage patterns over the long 20th century, using unique individual-level data from hitherto unexplored Anglican marriage registers. In the second part, a large-scale field survey in Western Uganda highlights the challenges smallholder women face in present-day rural Uganda and investigates the determinants for women’s participation in co-operatives and the potential of collective action to improve female smallholders’ relative social and economic position. To achieve this, the thesis focuses on an in-depth case-study of a single African country, Uganda. The full text of this thesis will be available through Utrecht University’s Repository Narcis, those interested can also contact the author


 New team member and related project on commons and cooperatives

Recently, Romina Rodela of Södertörn University joined our research team at Utrecht University, funded by a Seed Grant of Utrecht University's Strategic Theme 'Institutions'. Romina is in charge of a new related project, Cooperation and institutions for collective action: an exploration into the potential of social network analysis to disclose differences among CPR/village commons in the Alps-Adriatic region. The project aims to bring together social network analysis combined with other methodologies from experimental sociology and integrated with historical research to undertake an exploratory study into common pool institutions in Central and Eastern Europe.

Publications January - June 2015

  • De Moor, T., 2015. The Dilemma of the Commoners. Understanding the Use of Common Pool Resources in Long-Term Perspective. Political Economy of Institutions and Decisionas Series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Rusch, H. and Störmer, C., 2015. An evolutionary perspective on war heroism.  Militaire Spectator 184(3), 140-50. > click here for article
  • Van Weeren, R. and De Moor, T., 2015. Controlling the commoners: Methods to prevent, detect, and punish free-riding on Dutch commons in the early modern period. Agricultural History Review 62(2), 256-77. > click here for article

Future activities

 Underneath, you will find some of the activities our research team members will be involved in within the next few months; click on the event for full info


> June 17, Utrecht - Workshop 'Understanding cooperation: a multiduisciplinary perspective'

> July 1-3, Newcastle-upon-Tyne - 44th Annual ESG Conference

> August 3-7, Kyoto - XVIIth World Economic History Conference 'Diversity in Development'

> September 7-10, Girona – EURHO Rural History Conference 2015

> October 30-31, Utrecht - Conference 'Poverty: Problem and Path'


Also check our Agenda on our website

Contact details

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