In this Book

buy this book Buy This Book in Print
The history of the commons -- jointly owned land or other resources such as fisheries or forests set aside for public use -- provides a useful context for current debates over sustainability and how we can act as "good ancestors." In this book, Derek Wall considers the commons from antiquity to the present day, as an idea, an ecological space, an economic abstraction, and a management practice. He argues that the commons should be viewed neither as a "tragedy" of mismanagement (as the biologist Garrett Hardin wrote in 1968) nor as a panacea for solving environmental problems. Instead, Walls sees the commons as a particular form of property ownership, arguing that property rights are essential to understanding sustainability. How we use the land and its resources offers insights into how we value the environment. After defining the commons and describing the arguments of Hardin's influential article and Elinor Ostrom's more recent work on the commons, Wall offers historical case studies from the United States, England, India, and Mongolia. He examines the power of cultural norms to maintain the commons; political conflicts over the commons; and how commons have protected, or failed to protect ecosystems. Combining intellectual and material histories with an eye on contemporary debates, Wall offers an applied history that will interest academics, activists, and policy makers.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Title Page, Series Page, Copyright
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Foreword
  2. Michael Egan
  3. pp. xi-xvi
  4. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xvii-xviii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 1. Commons Ecology
  2. pp. 1-42
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 2. Culture in Common?
  2. pp. 43-70
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 3. Commons in Conflict
  2. pp. 71-100
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 4. Questions for Good Ancestors
  2. pp. 101-136
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 137-154
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Selected Readings on the Commons
  2. pp. 155-156
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 157-165
  3. restricted access Download |

Additional Information

Print ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.