HEN666 Governing the commons: Natural resources, enclosures, and economic growth

Faculty of Social Studies
Autumn 2018
Extent and Intensity
2/0/0. 2 credit(s). Type of Completion: z (credit).
Claudio Cattaneo (lecturer)
Mgr. Christian Kerschner, M.Sc., Dr. (lecturer)
Christian Kimmich, Ph.D., M.Sc. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
doc. Mgr. Bohuslav Binka, Ph.D.
Department of Environmental Studies - Faculty of Social Studies
Contact Person: Ing. Veronika Išová
Supplier department: Department of Environmental Studies - Faculty of Social Studies
Mon 26. 11. 16:00–19:40 Aula, Tue 27. 11. 16:00–17:40 U44, 18:00–19:40 P51 Posluchárna V. Čermáka
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
After this workshop participants will have gathered a basic understanding of the concepts of commons related to natural resources, enclosures, and economic growth. In addition to applications of an institutional analysis to commons problems, they will obtain an overview of one of the key topics in the ongoing debate: what is the role of commons in relation to and in a society beyond economic growth? The participants will be encouraged to make up their own mind from different conceptual, theoretical, and applied literature, from authors that are enthusiastic and those who are rather critical. And they will be invited to challenge their own preconceived views and appreciate both sides of a scientific dilemma.
  • • Participants of the workshop will firstly receive a general introduction into the literature on commons. They will then receive readings on the role of commons in relation to natural resources, and in relation to economic growth, including the enclosures of commons and approaches to commons that challenge the constant need of economic growth, i.e. Post-growth or Degrowth. Many new research areas are opening up in this emerging field. Participants will have the opportunity to engage more with a particular polemic one: Commons - for some the solution to all our sustainability problems, to others the very origin of these problems. • The first reading will provide an overview on institutional common-pool resource analysis, focusing on the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework (Ostrom 2005, chapter 1), which is the most frequently used analytical framework to study common-pool resources. • The second reading is an application of the IAD framework to the role of environmental NGOs in biodiversity governance, with case studies in the Ore Mountains at the Czech-German border. • The third reading is a reflection on the history, enclosure, and the future of the commons in the context of economic growth, written by David Harvey. • The workshop is organized as follows: A short presentation of common-pool resource theory will be followed by a discussion of an exemplary application of the IAD framework in the second reading. This case will be complemented by a presentation and discussion of the Indian water–energy–food nexus. In a third step, a more fundamental reflection on the roles, history and potential futures of commons will be facilitated.
    required literature
  • • Ostrom, E. (2005). Understanding Institutional Diversity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Chapter 1.
  • • Slavíková, L., Syrbe, R. U., Slavík, J., & Berens, A. (2017). Local environmental NGO roles in biodiversity governance: a Czech-German comparison. GeoScape, 11(1), 1-15.
  • • Harvey, D. (2011). The future of the commons. Radical History Review, 2011(109), 101-107.
    recommended literature
  • • Bardhan, P. K., & Ray, I. (Eds.). (2008). The contested commons: conversations between economists and anthropologists. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • • Villamayor-Tomas, S., Grundmann, P., Epstein, G., Evans, T., & Kimmich, C. (2015). The water-energy-food security nexus through the lenses of the value chain and the Institutional Analysis and Development frameworks. Water Alternatives, 8(1), 735-755.
  • • Ecologist. (1994). Whose common future: reclaiming the commons. Environment and Urbanization, 6(1), 106-130.
  • • Ostrom, E. (2010). Beyond markets and states: polycentric governance of complex economic systems. American Economic Review, 100(3), 641-72.
Teaching methods
Participants will receive a set of questions to answer (1000 words) with respect to the content of the three readings, in order to make sure everyone starts with the same level of input. The first slot will be held mostly as an input-session, but with room for debates and small group work. Some time will be set aside for preparing the large debate in the second slot. Participants will be randomly assigned roles, either on the commons-optimist or the commons-pessimist side and will as a group prepare a more or less formal debate, with a price to win for the best performing team.
Assessment methods
Pre-Course assignment: 1500 words answering a set of pre-defined questions related to the literature - 60% Performance in the Debate: Not in terms of acting skills but in terms of the noticeable level of preparation, ability to answer content-related questions etc. -40%
Language of instruction
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught only once.

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