28 May 2011

Culture, Conflict and Ecology: The Commons in History.

I have started writing my latest book, my ninth, which will look at commons in history.

This will be an academic title rather than introductory or polemical like my last few books.

Feedback and thoughts welcome....I do think commons provides the key to a sustainable and prosperous future.

Let me know what you think, there is economics beyond the market and the state!

Culture, Confilct and Ecology: The Commons in History.

1. Commons Ecology
- What is the Commons?
- The tragedy of the commons
- Commons as a solution
- Social sharing as an ecological path
- Succesful commons in India, Eastern US, Peru and England
- Ecologically failed commons.

2. Culture in common
- Commons as an economic solution
- Culture as a means of conservation
- Culture versus economics
- Contested cultures
- Misreading the cultural commons

3. Commons in conflict
- The destruction of the commons through history
- The radical case for the commons
- Conflicted commons
- Continuing commons
- Restoring the commons.

4. Questions for good ancestors.
- Summary
- Critical questions
- Commons for a sustainable future.



Suggestions for further reading.

Links to commons based sites and information sources.

6. Chapter summaries

Chapter one introduces the concept of commons, debates the nature of common property rights and examines contrasting notions of commons put forward by Hardin and Ostrom. It examines the ecological utility of commons in a variety of past contexts.

Chapter two looks at the cultural under pinnings of commons. It debates the extent to which commons based management of natural resources depends on shared cultural norms. The historical record of contrasting cultures of commoning is examined. The problematic nature of applying cultural understandings in a contemporary context is also discussed.

Chapter three looks at the erosion of commons by markets, colonialisation and empires. It examines and challenges the 'radical' case for commons, while showing that commons have not simply been obilterated but have continued in past contexts in new forms despite the introduction of state and market property relations.

Chapter four summarizes debates around the ecological, cultural and conflictual nature of commons. The contested commons reminds us of a number of questions we should ask if we seek to act as good ancestors working towards a sustainable future for future generations and other species.

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