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IASC Election Results

2014 December Elections Results

In this elections, IASC members voted for the President-elect, one Two-year Council vacancy and for two Council members of the association.


John Powell

I have worked on commons resources for a large part of my academic life. An early introduction through undergraduate debate over the concept of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ spurred an interest in the institutional aspects of natural resources management. This led to PhD research exploring how to change the reference frame of decision makers in order to improve management and protection of groundwater resources. Since then I have worked on valuation of a wide range of ‘shared’ resources including surface water, contaminated land, upland vegetation, marine fisheries, and air quality.
I became more directly focused on commons governance when I was invited to join the UK Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) in 2003 as part of a team to develop new legislation on common land in England and Wales. I was tasked with designing new governance arrangements for managing common land that would balance the rights of commoners, landowners, and other interests. The work required finding a means of assigning state power to the local level that would ensure that individual rights and different interests were not over-ridden. The work involved close collaboration with other members of the team dealing with registration of rights and environmental protection for commons, and with government lawyers. Our approach required new deliberative consultation methods to understand and gain stakeholder support as the Government was not prepared to legislate in the face of opposition. The outcome was the Commons Act 2006, and the first new ‘Commons Council’ under the Act was established in 2014.
A major surprise, working in a large government department responsible for environmental and resource issues, was the almost complete absence of any conception of commons as a set of institutional arrangements that needed a different form of governance. I did not come across anyone, among civil servants or stakeholder interests, who was aware of Elinor Ostrom’s work, but quite a lot of people who had heard about ‘the tragedy of the commons’ (which, as far as they could see, was in fact playing itself out through overgrazing of the upland commons). For many civil servants, and government Ministers, the commons were either ‘a tragedy’, too difficult to comprehend, or both. I was therefore pleased to be appointed as Co-Director of the 2008 Biennial International conference in Cheltenham. The conference provided a major opportunity for the IASC to raise the profile of recent developments in commons theory, and to encourage attendance and involvement of UK policy personnel and practitioners.
More recent work on community renewable energy in the UK, rural development in Malta, and marine fisheries within the EU have indicated that Defra is not unusual and there is a ’knowledge deficit’ when it comes to considering policy solutions to commons problems. There are various causes including a failure to consider the role of institutional arrangements, the disciplinary backgrounds of those involved, and, more significantly, a lack of awareness of alternative approaches among those involved in the decision processes.
Yet these kinds of issues are precisely where a commons perspective, and the IASC, can make a major contribution. At a time when the current economic doctrine is increasingly being questioned and its weaknesses and gaps made more apparent, there is a need for developing stronger theoretical underpinnings for alternative forms of resource ownership and governance. Examining these problems through the ‘lens of commons theory’ offers new insights and potential for new solutions, although this alone will not result in beneficial change.
The application of insights from commons theory will require the development of new understanding among policy makers, new ways of framing problems at all levels, and changes in institutional arrangements to enable practical application of ideas. Improving understanding of commons will continue to be a major role for the Association, as the foundation to support other activities: from theoretical development to policy application, and from re-framing through to institutional change. A strength of the IASC lies in bringing different disciplines together, as well as providing a forum where policy makers academics and practitioners can meet and exchange ideas and knowledge, and learn from each other; and the value should not be underrated, in terms of creativity, or the potential for reaching a wider audience. This type of activity is not easy, however, for any organisation, and friction should be expected as a result of different perspectives on what is important and where to focus action.
Enabling the IASC to flourish and reach its full potential will require a long-term strategy that addresses the needs of academics and practitioners as well as providing for a sound financial footing. The IASC has an opportunity to be a major influence in developing the thinking for solving shared resource problems at levels from the local to the global. In order to do this it needs to engage with a wide range of people, at both local and global scales, in different ways and with new audiences. The Association has made significant advances in communicating ideas through development of the Commons Digest, the International Journal of the Commons and improvements to the website. But the message is a complex one that requires explanation and deeper learning to be effective. The distance learning short courses currently being developed offer scope for delivering learning to a wider audience, and may also provide an income stream, but the Association needs to be ready to build on that experience, and explore how to reach more effectively into the policy arena. In particular, the IASC needs to find new ways to influence policy and lay audiences, and strengthen its position in the wider academic arena that is exploring similar problems from different perspectives. The regional and international conferences offer a major potential to contribute and it will be worthwhile looking for ways in which they can make a more lasting contribution in the areas where they are held.
I feel deeply honoured to have been nominated as a candidate for the presidency of the IASC and I look forward to being part of the process that makes the Association more active and effective in the coming decades.

Two-year Council vacancy

Anne Larson

Anne Larson is a Principal Scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research in Lima, Peru. She has lived and worked in Latin America for 25 years and received her PhD at UC Berkeley in 2001. Her research interests have focused on issues pertaining to policy, governance and livelihoods particularly as associated with forests. She has published widely in academic journals, including the International Journal of the Commons, but is also committed to producing more accessible publications (briefs, booklets, illustrated guides) in local languages (Spanish, miskitu). Her research includes the study of processes and outcomes of forest tenure reforms around the globe; community forestry; the social construction and governance of indigenous territories; government relations under decentralization policies and processes; power, authority and decision-making from the state to indigenous authorities and struggles for effective representation; women’s access to resources and effective participation in decisions; debates over REDD+, especially regarding land tenure and the rights and participation of women; among others. She has worked primarily in Latin America but has also led comparative research across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Larson has also worked with local communities and community and regional organizations to support mutual learning exchanges around commons management (Nicaragua and Guatemala); training courses on governance, rights and “development” for leaders of newly created indigenous territories; and workshops and discussion groups for community members on territorial governance and on women’s participation. She has actively participated in IASC, in the coordination of panels and participation in pre-conference workshops, since the Oaxaca conference. Her vision for IASC is to bring together the different perspectives from academia, policy and practice; build membership from underrepresented regions; and promote informed theoretical debate that contributes to practical solutions.

Executive Council Members

Charles Schweik

I am an Associate Professor of Environmental Conservation and Public Policy and Administration and the Associate Director of the National Center for Digital Government at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Prior to joining the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1999, I received a PhD in Public Policy at Indiana University (1998), and a Masters of Public Administration from Syracuse University (1991). Before that, I was a programmer at IBM (1984-1989) after earning an undergraduate degree in Computer Science.

In the 1990s, I was a graduate student working with Elinor Ostrom on the study of forest and landcover change and common property field research. But around 1999, my computer science and my environmental commons backgrounds converged when I first began to understand the ideas behind open source software. I realized that open source software projects were a form of Internet-based common property regime. Moreover, the institutional innovation of “Copyleft” used in open source to promote sharing and new derivative work had great potential for Internet-based collective action beyond software. Consequently, I’ve spent much of the last decade studying how “commons-based peer production” in open source software works, and published an extensive empirical study on this topic in Internet Success: A Study of Open Source Software Commons (2012, MIT Press). I am now expanding my research to other Internet-based peer production settings, including: (a) open access and education; (b) citizen science crowdsourcing environmental (invasive species) monitoring; (c) open science, environmental justice, makers and makerspaces; and (d) the systematic study of Peer Production “Knowledge Commons” cases, working with my law colleagues Katherine Strandburg, Brett Frischman, and Michael Madison. In this latter effort, I co-chaired the 2nd IASC Thematic Conference on Knowledge Commons (September, 2014) at NYU and continue to be a member of IASC. Further, working with IASC, I was the lead author of a new IASC video introducing viewers to the “Knowledge Commons” concept.

I believe that having both a background in “traditional commons” research and the deep connection to these new Internet-based peer production commons provides me with a unique vantage point that I think could be beneficial for IASC. As an elected member of the Executive Council I hope to build a larger track in IASC related to these peer production knowledge commons. In this area, there is a broad community of “commoners” globally who utilize the Internet for collective action that are not well connected to IASC, providing a substantial growth opportunity for the association. In addition, I want to encourage IASC in the continued production of new forms of communication about commons issues, such as in their efforts to create “Commons in Action” videos, as well as other efforts to create open access educational or research materials on the commons. An example of this is the promotion of “open source science” approaches to studying environmental commons. One group I am affiliated with – the Public Laboratory for Science – is a peer production knowledge commons group working to promote low cost scientific instrumentation for environmental justice issues. Another group is “GeoForAll” with an interest in promoting open source geospatial technology education. Groups like PublicLab and GeoForAll are important international communities that should be connected or at least aware of IASC. I hope to help make those connections.

Xavier Basurto

Why do I want to serve in the IASC? I have been an active member of the IASC since the Bloomington meeting in 2000 (then IASCP). That meeting changed my life in many ways. It was there that I decided to study the commons and be a commoner. I was a masters' student at the time and was impressed by the relaxed and friendly atmosphere, its inclusiveness, inter and transdisciplinarity and diversity. The ease with which practitioners and academics talked to each other. It felt real. I was new to conferences and thought that all of them were like that! Now I know that the IASC is unique. I do not know any other forum where people come together from so many disciplines, sectors, and parts of the world to share experiences and ideas. The world needs more IASCs!! But that is not going to happen if we do not keep IASC's membership strong, and provide services that are relevant to the issues and challenges of our time. I want to serve in the IASC and help it become a role model for all the other academic and practitioner associations interested in addressing issues of local and global relevance. If we do so—and can only do it together—the world will be a better place than it is today.

Formal (and informal) training: My academic and professional training is based on the deep conviction that through integrating different disciplinary perspectives and methods we will be able to find solutions to challenging dilemmas facing local and global commons today. Trained as a marine biologist in Mexico (I am Mexican), I completed a M.S in natural resources studying small-scale fisheries in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Recognizing the need to bring social science theories into my work on common-pool resources sustainability, I earned a MPA and a Ph.D. in Management (with a minor in Cultural Anthropology) from the University of Arizona and under the supervision of Edella Schlager. Following grad school, I spent two years working with Lin Ostrom, at the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop for Political Theory and Policy Analysis of Indiana University. Currently, I am an assistant professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. In a previous life—that is before going to grad school—I worked as a scallop farmer in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Academic interests: I am interested in the fundamental question of how can social groups find ways to self-organize, cooperate, and engage in successful collective action for the benefit of the common good. To do this I strive to understand how the institutions that govern social behavior interplay with biophysical variables to shape social-ecological systems. What kinds of institutions are better able to govern complex-adaptive systems? And how can societies (large and small) develop robust institutions that provide enough flexibility for collective learning and adaptation in the long-term? You can learn more about my work and my research group at Duke at:

As a practitioner: In 1999 I was one of several friends that co-founded Comunidad y Biodiversidad Today CoBi is one of Mexico's leading marine conservation organizations with the mission to promote the conservation of coastal and marine biodiversity through community participation. Currently I serve in the board of directors providing technical research advice and general strategic counsel. I have also served in the boards of directors for other Mexican organizations. At the global level I currently serve in the Resilience Alliance’s board, a global network of scholars and practitioners interested in resilience issues. See

2014 IASC Elections Results

In this elections, IASC members voted for the President-Elect. The vacancy was created by the untimely death of our colleague Douglas Wilson, and the person elected will become President on January 15, 2015. In accordance with IASC’s by-laws (authorized under Article III.F.3), elections were held to select a new President-Elect. As specified in the ByLaws, the nominating committee was chaired by the Past-President (Susan Buck) and consists of the chair and four other members appointed by President Merino: two members of the Council (Lapologang Magole and Anne Larson), and two additional IASC members (James Robson and José-Miguel Lana Berasain).

On February 28th 2014, as required in the bylaws, IASC invited all active members of the Association to nominate candidates. No nominations were received.
The committee must chose one candidate and may chose up to three; the unanimous decision of the committee was to nominate one candidate. As in the past, this time the committee felt it was important to chose a candidate who was already familiar with the goals and procedures of IASC. After thorough discussion, the nominating committee proposed as candidate: Martina (Tine) De Moor, Professor of Institutions for Collective Action in Historical Perspective at the Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University.

The vote to Tine De Moor as President-Elect was open from May 1 to May 11, 2014 and it has collected a 100% yes.


Martina (Tine) De Moor

As a historian and environmental scientist my main interest goes to understanding why people set-up commons and other forms of institutions for collective action and how they manage to make their initiatives durable and resilient, why these institutions survive and thrive over the (very) long run. Many IASC-scholars have contributed to understanding these issues, many of whom have been working in Less Developed Countries where institutions for collective often still play an important role in daily live. However, in particular in times of political, economic and ecologic crises as we know today, it becomes clear that such institutions can also make a difference and can be a viable alternative in developed countries as well, where the principles of self-governance and cooperation have to a large extent been erased from the collective memory. And yet, there is a lot to learn from both the historical examples that have managed to survive centuries as from the present-day examples elsewhere, which are at the core of the IASC’s members’ interest. Being based in the Netherlands & Belgium, I witness on a daily basis new initiatives being set-up by “normal” citizens who choose collective action for an alternative model for their provision in energy, care, culture and other goods and services (see and www.iasc-commons/commonsinaction) for examples. New cooperatives and other types of collective governance, consumption and production play today a key-role in dealing with the failure of the market and the retreat of the welfare state. In dealing with these problems, European citizens rediscover self-governing institutions as a durable and well-functioning alternative. But these citizens also crave for knowledge, guidance in how to run such a self-governing institution. With our team in Utrecht, we support such initiatives with knowledge derived from our historical studies but also by demonstrating that much of the knowledge they need is already out there among the daily practitioners of the commons in Africa, Asia, Latin America. Our intention here is to more explicitly “reverse the knowledge chain” and find the knowledge where it is daily practiced. This process will also give more visibility to “knowledge common” the IASC itself already is. The IASC forms the ideal network environment to identify where the knowledge on self-governance, on cooperation and participation (and much more) that is needed is present - whether among scholars or practitioners - and to bring it where it is needed.

Over the next few years, I intend to contribute to strengthening the IASC further in various ways. Considering the current developments whereby self-governance and commons are being “rediscovered” as viable governance models, we can increase the involvement of citizens in the “science of cooperation” via various projects whereby the practitioners’ side of the IASC can play a very active role. The IASC can also be more than it is now a very suitable environment where scholars find each other for international collaboration projects on different aspects of the functioning of the commons. Lastly, I hope we can expand our network of and collaboration with more diverse institutional members so that we can further our impact on policy related to the many domains and regions in which the IASC is active.
I have been active in the Association since 2001 and served on the Executive Council from 2008 until present. From 2003 onwards I prepared, together with Erling Berge, the launch of the International Journal of the Commons in 2007, remained editor until the year after and I’m still a member of the editorial board. In 2006, I organized with Giangiacomo Bravo the regional European Conference of the IASC in Brescia. I am also a board member of the Elinor Ostrom Award for Collective Governance of Common Resources. Trained as a historian (Ghent, London) and environmental scientist (Antwerp) (Ph.D. history from Ghent University (Belgium), I am Full Professor on a chair entitled “Institutions for collective action in historical perspective” at Utrecht University in the Netherlands where I lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers on this topic, within the department of social and economic history. As one of the scholars involved in the Interdisciplinary Knowledge Institute “Institutions of the Open Society”, I have received a number of large research grants on commons and related issues. I have published in journals and books with varying disciplinary background, but most of my work deals with commons and other aspects of long-term change in Europe; besides I supervise research on cooperation and economic history in other parts of the world as well (Uganda, Uruguay). For further information about the research of our team, see:

2012 IASC Elections Results

In this elections, IASC members voted for the President-Elect and for two Council members.


Douglas Wilson

Douglas Clyde Kongshøj Wilson is Professor MSO in Fisheries Sociology at Innovative Fisheries Management, an Aalborg University Research Centre in Aalborg, Denmark. Before his university training, he spent ten years working full time in community development in the United States, Brazil and Kenya. He is an environmental and natural resource sociologist with extensive experience and more than 60 publications on aquatic management in Africa, Asia, North America and Europe. He has delivered seven keynote addresses to conferences dealing with natural resource governance and has served six times on the scientific committees of such conferences. He is past chair of the Working Group on Fisheries Systems of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea and was the first social scientist to be a chair of a permanent ICES working group. He has served as coordinator of three Europe-wide research consortia and as a task coordinator on four others. These projects dealt mainly with governance and knowledge issues on fisheries and other commons. They carried out research in Asia and Africa as well as Europe. He has also served as an associate editor for three academic journals dealing with natural resource social science.
Doug’s recent work, including a monograph The Paradoxes of Transparency: Science and the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management in Europe, raises questions about the distortions that happen to both science and experience-based knowledge when it is being used to create the rigid boundaries needed by both top-down and enclosure styles of aquatic management.
Doug’s association with IASC has been a long and active one. He has attended ten biennial conferences starting in 1992, as well as three regional meetings. He served as Editor-in-Chief for 27 issues of the CPR Digest from 1999 through 2005. He has served as a member of the Executive Council since 2006. He is also a member of the Editorial Board for the International Journal of the Commons.
His vision for IASC centres on the cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral conceptual contributions it can make to the growing “commons sense” in which arrangements for sharing resources are considered a viable, normal, and often attractive alternative to privatization and bureaucratic control. This means he believes that successful conferences - global, regional and thematic – should continue to be our central thrust and that our main challenge now is finding a sustainable organizational model for doing that. Two organizational pillars that are crucial to this vision are expanded membership rolls and the continuing success of the International Journal of the Commons.

Executive Council Members

Marco Janssen

I am the director of the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity and an Associate Professor both within the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University (USA). I received my PhD in Mathematics in 1996 from Maastricht University (Netherlands) on integrated assessment modeling of global change. During the last 15 years I have increasingly worked on collective action and the commons at different scales, of different resources using different methods.
Since 1998 I am involved with the Resilience Alliance working on the study of social-ecological systems. This was also the venue I got involved with the study of the commons, especially since 2000 when I start working with Marty Anderies and Elinor Ostrom on robustness of social-ecological systems. From 2002 till 2005 I was a research scientist at Indiana University, and in 2005 I moved to a regular faculty position at Arizona State University.
Most of my research is collaborative in international projects in which my involvement is largely related to the methodology. In 2010 I co-authored with Amy Poteete and Elinor Ostrom the book “Working Together” on the multi-method approach. Current research focuses on robustness of small-scale irrigation systems to climate change and globalization, and the ability of behavioral experiments as tool for catalyzing behavioral change of collective action problems. My current projects include sites in USA, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Thailand, Nepal, India and South Africa.
I am a member of IASC since 2003 and chaired the 2010 North American regional conference of the organization. As an elected member of the Executive Council I hope to increase the connection of IASC with the fast growing international community of scholars studying social-ecological systems. Furthermore, I like to increase the visibility of IASC to derive multi-method training in collective action and the commons. Finally I am involved in various cyberinfrastructure initiatives, such as, and I like to stimulate the use of cyberinfrastructure tools within IASC to share and compare research findings on the commons.

Insa Theesfeld

It would be an honour and enormous pleasure for me to serve on the Executive Council of IASC. I am an active IASC member since 2002, joining international and European meetings since then. I see the association as being unique in its two-fold aims: raising awareness of practitioners and policy makers for the commons issues and strengthening academic exchange due to its natural position to integrate knowledge across various disciplines.
As an elected member of the Executive Board, I will support IASC’s role as a scientific organization, as I see this as the foundation to fulfil its other tasks. I would like to raise awareness on commons based sustainability issues not only focussing on local commons but to stress the theories’ relevance and practitioners’ experience for global commons and new commons and make this more visible. I will feel responsible to enhance long-term membership commitment, facilitated by reliable and high-class regional meetings and an even better and innovative membership services. The association can also market itself more visible in its ability to give policy advice.
I am an agricultural economist, specialized in institutional economics and resource economics. I received my PhD from Humboldt University Berlin, Germany in 2005. My research fields compose the fit between policies foreseen to be implemented and the institutional arrangements in place, the creation of institutional arrangements by communities to govern their use of renewable natural resources at different scales. I have a strong methodological interest in institutional and policy analysis with a focus on power and leadership issues. Besides, a significant strand of my work has explored water resource management issues. I was a visiting scholar at the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis in 2005 and 2010. Since 2007, I am leading the research team “Institutions and Natural Resource Management” at the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe in Halle, Germany and teach at the Humboldt University Berlin.
I am a member of the Social-Ecological Systems Club, a scholar group in multiple locations initiated and led for several years by Lin Ostrom. The development of the Socio-Ecological Systems Framework and the integration of Socio-Technical System requirements into that is at its core and is likewise of high interest to many IASC academic scholars and practitioners handling concrete but complex socio-ecological questions. Thus, I see my engagement in this group as a perfect link to parts of the current debate of the IASC community.
In 2011, I very much enjoyed supporting IASC with lots of my time by organizing and co-chairing the European IASC conference on “Shared Resources in a Rapidly Changing World” in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Currently, I am co-editing a special issue in the International Journal of the Commons on post-socialist commons issues. I look forward to bringing to IASC my organizational expertise and long-term collaboration experience with commons scholars.

2010 IASC Elections Results

In this election, IASC members also voted on proposed bylaws revisions. The revisions were approved by the membership.


Leticia Merino
Being a member of IASC and serving as a member of the Association’ s executive council and as president of the 10th Global Conference held in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2004, have been some of the richest experiences of my professional life. I feel deeply honored by the proposal of the nominating committee of becoming one of the pre-nominated candidates for the presidency of the IASC.

As Ruth Meinzen-Dick stated in her speech on inauguration as president of IASC, the Association has achieved much. Collective property is acknowledged now by many as a viable and legitimate option to face problems related with sustainability of natural resources and ecosystems. Furthermore, in the environmental field and many others, the need for collective action, social capital and strong local institutions is also regarded as an imperative. IASC contributions to these achievements are undeniable.

During the last six years as a member of the council I have had the opportunity to take part in developing a diagnosis of the evolving fields that the members of the IASC try to address, as well as the limitations that may hinder IASC as a strategic tool for its members' efforts.

I see three main interlinked challenges: there are “traditional” challenges posed by the resistance of governments and elites to the demand for more democratic, fair and cooperative social and human relations, implicit in “commons thought”. This is an ongoing battle; there will always be old and emerging conflicts that feed on the resistance of the powerful to acknowledgement of others' perspectives and rights and to share their privileges. In order to address these challenges, IASC research and theory will be useful. Another set of challenges can be seen as “emerging”: political tensions are always present, but the empirical fields, the types of goods or systems and the associated knowledge are relatively new. I refer to fields such as climate, new threats to public health and information, including digital and genetic information. IASC scholars need to work based in strong interdisciplinary approaches and teams to provide relevant reflections and tools for policy and to advance democratic and socially fair agendas for evolving governance systems in these fields.

Finally there are also challenges that can be regarded as the result of threats posed by the success of IASC and the popularity of themes such as the commons, collective action and collective property. I refer to the growth of IASC and IASC conferences that may weaken the sense of personal connection and personal belonging, as well as to the growth of the IASC in different regions of the world while membership and activities in North America have lessened, and to the emergence of new associations with focus on specific fields, though often with a “commons” approach.

In order to address these challenges I propose we should:
_ Diversifying and enriching the relations with the members and among members, based on more participatory, interactive communication. Recently some members of the executive council and of the secretariat have been working hard on proposals for a new communication strategy, developing possible uses of the web page, exploring the creation of thematic and/or regional blogs, and other mechanisms that may enable more dynamic and intense relations among members.
_ Reaching new audiences, increasing the potential of IASC scholarship and strengthening our chances for generational replacement through a web-based course on the commons involving some of our members of different generations and regions.
_ Developing a strategy to reach and enroll young audiences: maintaining quotas and/or specific forums for young people in the global and regional conferences.
_ Holding teaching events for young people at the conferences (a successful experience first implemented in Cheltenham).
_ Managing specific grants for young people to attend conferences, and having awards for the best Masters and PHD thesis presented in the Conferences.
_ Becoming more policy-relevant and policy-oriented. Since the beginning, IASC has tried to influence public policies, providing rigorous theoretical and research elements for the analysis of policies and for the crafting of more inclusive and finely tuned policy proposals. IASC needs to develop an agenda that includes the maintenance and strengthening of the diversity of members, including academics and practitioners, promoting the participation of relevant NGOs and other agencies in the Association and/or the conferences, and providing platforms for contemporary debates and networking around them through our main tools: the conferences, the Digital Library of the Commons, the Commons Digest, the International Journal of the Commons and soon the web page.
_ Having IASC groups participate in relevant meetings such as the World Forest Congress, debates on climate change and the mechanisms to halt it.
_ Maintaining and supporting the Commons Digest and the Journal of the Commons, supporting their search for high quality while looking for a wider participation in their production and for the translation of the Digest in each of the main languages with presence of members. The Digital Library of the Commons Is one of the main assets of IASC. A close relationship between the Library sustained by the Workshop of Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University and the secretariat and the presidency is key for IASC. The support of the generous effort of the Workshop should be one of the priorities of IASC.

_ PROMOTE THE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE IASC by actively supporting regional efforts such as conferences, projects, regional funding to strengthen the global network and the global conferences. Regional networking at global conferences can become more systematic and purpose-oriented. Regional IASC conferences should also be part of the agenda of the Association.

_ By maintaining and protecting an institutional memory with IASC records kept at a host institution under legal agreements, and digitalizing these records as much as possible, working with an informal “advisory body” conformed by those members who have served as council members.
_ By institutionalizing the roles of different bodies (the collegial presidency, the council, the nominations committee, the Journal) that through the years have developed new and rich collective practices not
fully acknowledged.
Finally, financial viability is a serious problem for the IASC. That is partly related to a change of working styles and priorities of some of our traditional donors, but also to the growth of the association, and the size of conferences, as well as the emerging diversity of activities. For several years, some members of the council have underlined the importance of being able to be “financed by our doing instead of being financed by our being”. The maintenance of a balance among self-sufficiency and the nature of “public good” of IASC scholarship and production is also an ongoing demand. But financial
viability deserves serious attention and efforts.
General ideas on this critical theme include:
_ Diversification of funding, including funding for specific activities (the Journal, regional networking and conferences, work in specific critical themes, policy related activities.
_ Financing some of our activities by our doing (such as the digital course on the Commons).
_ Exploring the possibility of developing an endowment for IASC.
_ Promoting the work of a financial committee within the executive committee.
These are general ideas. They can only be put in place through intense and committed collective action and trust, assets that in the past enabled the creation and survival of the IASC. I apologize for the space I have taken and I thank for your attention.

Executive Council Members

Lapologang Magole
Lapologang Magole received her PhD in Development Studies (Environmental Policy Analysis) at the University of East Anglia, UK. She is currently a research scholar at the University of Botswana’s Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre in Maun. Lapo has previously held the position of Lecturer in regional development planning in the Department of Environmental Science of the University of Botswana. As a researcher she has worked on issues of environmental policy and governance for over ten years. Through her research and application/development work she has interacted with resource users at grass roots level, donors, policy makers and implementers and has come to appreciate multiple interests and aims with regard to natural resource management and use. Lapo has experience in organizing meetings (workshops and conferences) and facilitation (mediation, negotiation, conflict resolution and empowerment) in general and training on participatory planning and learning methods in particular. Her publications are in the areas of; institutions for management of the commons, rangeland management dynamics and issues affecting development and resource access of the San and other minority communities. Her scope of work has widened to the whole Southern African Development Community (SADC) through networking and collaborative work. Lapo’s exposure to the IASC body was through the Cross Sectoral Commons Governance in Southern Africa (CROSCOG) project which organised a special session at the 12th Biannual Conference in 2008. She has since been an active member. She was part of the panel of reviewers for both the 12th and 13th biannual conferences. Lapo was also the Conference Chair for the Africa Regional IASC Conference in Cape Town, January, 2009. She is currently finalizing a special section in the International Journal of the Commons (IJC) as a guest editor for papers resulting from work in the CROSCOG project and the Africa regional meeting.. As demonstrated by the dissemination (special section in the IJC, policy messages/briefs to communities, NGOs and policy makers as well as radio broadcasts) of the results of the Africa regional meeting that she led, Lapo’s vision for IASC is to continue expanding and renewing the commons scholarship but also and most importantly, to facilitate that IASC becomes an empowering agent for local resource users by providing them with the information and support they need to successfully negotiate their stake in natural resources. This can be done by ensuring that IASC has strong and active regional bodies which interact with local resource users.
Ashwini Chhatre
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am an Indian citizen, male, 39 years old, and have only been in the US for seven years. I was awarded a Ph.D. in Political Science at Duke University, and was the first Giorgio Ruffolo Sustainability Science Research Fellow at Harvard University in 2006-07. Between my BA in Economics from University of Delhi in 1990 and the start of my PhD at Duke, I spent 11 years working in different parts of India, mostly as a community organizer and social activist working on issues related to natural resources like land, forests, and water. A background in economics, graduate training in political science, a job in Geography, and a general interest in ecology and environmental sciences ensure that my interests will never be confined to a single discipline. Cross-disciplinary training and experience on both sides of the research-practice divide allow me to bring multiple perspectives to bear simultaneously upon research questions relating to the commons.
Research is an integral part of being a social activist, at least a well-informed one, and my research experience started well before I joined graduate school. I had the good fortune of collaborating with some of the best scholars in India, and I learnt the importance of connecting research to policy and social issues early in my career. Some of that research experience was published as journal articles, and I also co-authored a book on the politics of conservation and development in India based on my pre-graduate school social activist experience. My current research interests lie in the study of intersection of democratic politics with environment and development. All my field research has been confined to India, and I am also collaborating with IFRI researchers in analyzing the joint production of livelihoods and forest-related outcomes. Ongoing research projects include 1) the long-term impact of redistributive land reforms on environment and development, 2) the conceptualization of democracy as the emergent property of complex adaptive networks of public, civic, and market institutions, 3) the role of forest commons in simultaneously producing livelihoods, sequestering carbon, and conserving biodiversity in human-dominated mixed-use landscapes, and 4) role of access of vulnerable groups to local institutions and cross-scale articulation between institutions in facilitating local adaptation to climate change.
I would like to see more attention to the role of commons in the mitigation of and adaptation to imminent climate change. IASC is uniquely positioned to integrate knowledge across disciplines to produce meaningful insights into practical solutions to this global concern. For example, forest commons simultaneously provide multiple benefits – carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, and material subsistence and commercial benefits to local communities. However, much work remains to be done to explore the synergies and trade-offs among multiple benefits under alternative institutional configurations. I will strive to encourage collaboration among commons scholars on the role of commons in climate change, as well as attract young scholars and practitioners to engage with commons scholarship as they work on climate change issues. I am also interested in establishing closer ties between the IASC and the Society of Conservation Biology, and am also seeking a service position in the Social Science Working Group of the SCB.

2008 IASC Election Results

The election totals are listed below.


Susan J. Buck has been active in the Association since 1988. She served on the Executive Council from 1993-1998. In 1990-1991, she chaired the International Scholars Committee that administered the Ford Foundation grant for the 1991 conference, and in 1996, she served on the Nomination Committee. She is currently a member of the editorial board for the International Journal of the Commons.

Susan received her Ph.D. in Public Administration with a specialization in Natural Resources Management from Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA). She is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; since 1999, she has been director of the university’s Environmental Studies Program. She is the author of Understanding Environmental Administration and Law (Island Press, 1991, 1996, 2006), The Global Commons (Island Press, 1998), and co-author of Public Administration in Theory and Practice (Prentice-Hall, 1994). She has numerous book chapters, most recently in Society and Wildlife in the 21st Century (Island Press, 2008). She has also published in The Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, Agriculture & Human Values, Natural Resources Journal, Human Ecology, Coastal Zone Management Journal, and Environmental Ethics. In 1996, she was a visiting scholar at Indiana University, and in 1997, she was a Fulbright Research Scholar at The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Susan feels the International Journal of the Commons is an important addition to the Digest and the Digital Library of the Commons as a venue to share knowledge of the commons and their effects on public policy. She would like to see broader participation in the regional and global meetings, and she looks forward to working with incoming president Ruth Meinzen-Dick and the Executive Council as the Association evolves.

Executive Council Members

Tine (Martina) De Moor, PhD, studied social and economic history and environmental sciences at the universities of Ghent (Belgium), Antwerp and London. As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utrecht (The Netherlands) she researches the long-term functioning of institutions for collective action from an interdisciplinary and broad geographical perspective, hereby focussing in particular on institutions for collective management of land. Since 2004 she has been preparing -together with Erling Berge- the set-up of the International Journal of the Commons (IJC), the open access peer-reviewed journal of the IASC. The journal has been successfully launched in October 2007 ( As the co-editor of the journal she has been an ex-officio member of the Executive Board of the IASC, which has given her the opportunity to gain familiarity with the duties of an elected member of the board. Besides the organisation of several meetings on the history of the commons, she organised, in 2006 -together with Giangiacomo Bravo- a well-visited European IASC-conference in Brescia (Italy), on which the third issue of the IJC will be based. She has served on the scientific committees of both the 2006 and upcoming 2008 biennial meetings, has published on several aspects of commons, social change and economic development in journals, including the CPR-digest, and in books. As an elected member of the Executive board she hopes to further interdisciplinary collaboration on the themes of collective action and common pool resources, between scientists, practitioners and policy makers and to strengthen the regional IASC-networks. (See also:

Jesse C. Ribot is a Senior Associate in the Institutions and Governance Program at the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC. After receiving a doctorate from the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley, he taught rural political economy and environmental policy at MIT and was then a research associate at Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany, a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, and a Fellow in Agrarian Studies at Yale. Ribot has published on social vulnerability, property and access, natural resource commodity chains, and democratic decentralization. Most recently he has been conducting research in on decentralization in Senegal. His ongoing research uses comparative case studies in Asia, Africa and Latin America to explore the effects of natural resource decentralization reforms on local democracy and on the use of commodity-chain analysis as a distributional-equity policy tool. Ribot has been a member of IASC(P) since 1996 where he has organized panels at the bi-annual meeting since. Ribot's vision is to see greater long-term involvement and promotion of young African, Asian and Latin American scholars in IASC meetings. IASC provides an opportunity to validate case-based research by using IASC as
a platform for promoting comparative research with young scholars from
around the world.

2006 IASC Election Results

In this election, IASCP members also voted on proposed bylaws revisions in Article I (Name and Mission Change) and Article III (Council Duties). The revisions were approved by the membership. The revised bylaws are available on our website.

The election totals are listed below.


Ruth Meinzen-Dick is a Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), based in Washington DC. She is Coordinator of the CGIAR System-wide Program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi), a research program and network involving 15 international centers and partners at over 400 other organizations. She is a Development Sociologist who received her MSc and PhD degrees from Cornell University. Much of her work has been interdisciplinary research on water policy, local organizations, property rights, gender analysis, and the impact of agricultural research on poverty. She has conduced field work in Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and India, where she was born and raised. Her interest in the study of the commons developed when studying farmer management of irrigation in South India in the early 1980s, and has continued through over 25 years of research on water rights and water management. The CAPRi program has allowed her to look across different resource bases, including forestry, watersheds, rangelands, agricultural land, and fisheries, and she finds valuable insights from comparing across contexts and resources. These studies have led to publication of over 70 journal articles or book chapters, and 10 book or monographs that she has written or co-edited, including Innovation in Natural Resource Management: The Role of Property Rights and Collective Action in Developing Countries, and Negotiating Water Rights. Ruth has been a member of the IASCP since 1995, and served on the Executive Council since 2000. She feels honored to follow the many excellent Presidents of the IASCP, who have built this organization and raised the visibility of the commons worldwide. Ruth is strongly committed to IASCP as a unique organization for bringing together sound theory and research with policy and practice in the North and South. She feels that IASCP plays a valuable role in creating and sharing knowledge, through the Digest, the Digital Library of the Commons, and now through the launching of the International Journal of the Commons. She also feels that it is important to bring this knowledge to policy dialogues at many levels, from the local to the global, and hopes that her background as a policy researcher can help in this regard.

Executive Council Members

Frank Matose received his doctorate in philosophy in Development Studies from the University of Sussex (UK). Currently, he is a Senior Researcher/Program Manger in Community-based Natural Resource Management Program in the Program for Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of Western Cape in South Africa. Frank has also held positions as a Social Forestry Research Unit Leader at the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe and as Project Team Leader, Adaptive Co-Management of Forests Program at the Center for International Forestry Research. Frank specializes in policy processes management in natural resource management; natural resource governance; authority and power relations; participatory forest management; community-based conservation and development; natural resources and livelihoods. His work is focused in the following geographical regions: Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania. Frank has published over 25 articles which include both referred journals and chapters in books. His IASCP-related experiences includes involvement in the publication of the book: ?Managing Common Property in an Age of Globalization: Zimbabwean Experiences? by Weaver Press for the 2002 Conference. Also, since 2003, Frank has been managing a regional program of cross-sector/country research analysis and networking on CBNRM in Southern Africa. Through this program, Frank has been fostering scholarship, exchange visits, and e-mail based discussions on commons issues within the region across different disciplines and resource sectors. Frank?s vision for IASCP is to facilitate the growth of exchange of scholarship and experience around commons from an African perspective with the wider world.

Doug Wilson received his PhD in sociology from Michigan State University. Currently, he is a Senior Researcher at The Institute for Fisheries Management, a small foundation in rural Denmark that studies community involvement in fisheries management. This work has led Doug to fisheries in Africa, Europe, North America and Southeast Asia. His intellectual journey began with a general interest in co-management, but he is focusing more on how groups who must cooperate to manage a fishery (or any commons) create the shared knowledge they need. Doug draws on the local knowledge and sociology of science literatures in his studies. His position at IFM involves coordinating pan-European fisheries projects that engage fishers, conservation groups, and scientists from many disciplines. He chairs a permanent working group at ICES, the international marine science organization, and in the last three years has co-edited two multidisciplinary books. These were also opportunities to learn about working with people who know things in different ways. Doug first joined IASCP in 1991 and has attended five global meetings. He serves on the Scientific Committee for the 2006 European IASCP meeting. Doug was Digest editor from 1999 through 2005. During this time period, he attended IASCP Executive Council meetings so is familiar with the responsibilities of a council member. Doug is excited to have the chance to continue to help build the IASCP. His vision for IASCP is to bring in more people who think differently about the commons. Doug feels that the key is to continue to strengthen the regions through regional events and facilitating broad participation in the global meetings.