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International Association for the Study of the Commons
IASC European Meeting

September 14-17, 2011
Hosted by the Agricultural University Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Theme: Shared Resources in a Rapidly Changing World


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The conference is organized in 4 themes:

  • Multiple Drivers to Change in Common Management

In recent years we experience a rapidly evolving new category of drivers for new modes of governance in shared resources’ management. In comparison to the past, where of course institutional change always took place and was triggered by various determinants, current drivers such as climate change or the perception of groundwater depletion have certain particularities. They require precautionary actions, i.e. ex-ante, anticipatory, planned adaptation strategies in resource governance in order to avoid irreversible damages at a later stage. This theme comprises theoretical but also empirical studies which deal with the development of such drivers, their relationships to other drivers as well as the direct or indirect impact of these drivers on the management of the shared resources.

  • Post Socialist Commons: the Road Ahead

This theme examines the actual shifts in the management of shared resources in Central and South-Eastern European Countries and the Western Balkans, including the new member states: those which recently entered the European Union in 2007, those which started negotiations, and those not yet formally affiliated to the EU. The socialist legacy and experience of two decades of transition phase led to specific requirements for coordination mechanisms, particularly self-governance management solutions.

  • Methods Investigating Complex Common Property Regimes

This theme focuses on new methodological developments for investigating shared resource systems in a rapidly changing world. Methods range from laboratory experiments to field experiments. Apart from rational maximizing behavior, people follow rules of thump, behave reciprocal or altruistic or follow any other behavioral rule. This behavioral diversity can e.g. be captured by agent based modeling. Thus, for understanding common property regimes and for performing institutional analysis, we need to move far beyond either classical case study or large n-study research, and methodological diversity will lead to the best understanding.

  • Multi-level Governance

Particularly looking at shared resources and the management of such socio-ecological systems, often a multiplicity of governance levels is required for regulating a resource. Therefore this conference wants to deal explicitly with this inherent complexity. This complexity on various levels leads to a so far unknown multiplicity of drivers of change in commons´ management. The European post-socialist countries are particularly interesting examples to study multi-level governance due to their necessary institutionalizations on various levels. In that respect, the theme will also analyze how far the polycentricity concept is applied already in European shared resource management. In a polycentric system, each unit exercises considerable independence to make and enforce rules within a circumscribed domain of authority for a specified geographical area.

Agricultural University of Plodviv pictureLeibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology pictureLeib­niz In­sti­tu­te of Agri­cul­tu­ral De­ve­lop­ment in Cen­tral and Eas­tern Eu­ro­pe (IAMO) pictureBodø University College (BUC) picture

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