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Change and Adaptation in the Swiss Alps: Bargaining Processes and Rule Constitution in the Collective Alpine Farming


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Main topic



The study focuses on common pool resource institutions (CPRs) in the management of Swiss alpine pastures and more precisely on the processes of change and adaptation they go through due to changing conditions. The aim is to identify conditions, which lead to institutional change that fosters ecologically and economically sustainable developments. As reflected in the title, rule constituting and bargaining processes play a major role. Also the evaluation of existing rules regarding their acceptance and impact at a local level will be a focal point. As theoretical background, the eight Design Principles of Elinor Ostrom (evaluation of the sustainability of the institutions) and the model of institutional change by Jean Ensminger (explanation of institutional change through the influence and interaction of external and internal factors) are used.


Local perspectives have often been neglected in governmental decision making processes and previous studies in this field. Now, this qualitative and field study oriented approach shall bring new insights by giving local perceptions and impacts the attention and relevance they deserve.



  • University of Berne, Institute for Social Anthropology:
    • Gabriela Landolt
    • Prof. dr. Tobias Haller


  • The project is associated to the joint research program 'AlpFutur' as subproject 'Institutional Change'

Funding body

  • Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North–South, Research Partnerships for Mitigating Syndromes of Global Change, co-funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • Department of Agriculture of the Canton Grisons
  • Self-financing since June 2012


This project is supervised by Prof. dr. Tobias Haller, University of Berne, Institute for Social Anthropology

Contact details

Gabriela Landolt

University of Berne, Institute for Social Anthropology

Links to project

> AlpFutur, subproject 'Institutional Change' [French / German / Italian only]