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Linking Sustainability of Institutions and the Commons: The Process of Self-governance for Water Management in Northern Italian Farming Communities

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Marelli, Beatrice
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/7125
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Europe
Subject(s): water management
agriculture
institutions
value
Abstract: "As broad bodies of literature and empirical evidence have demonstrated, management of common-pool resources implies an institutional construction that would be able to take into account not only physical attributes of the resources, but also attributes of the community facing the collective action problem. Among these attributes, there are values of behavior generally accepted by the community as vehicle of shared learning and foundation of social order, crucial variables of relevance for the institutional analysis. After a review of the related literature, it was analyzed how internal and shared values can affect the level of cooperation and the institutional evolution in local irrigation systems. The discussed hypothesis sustains that individual values in such communities can interact during the course of time with the process of water management, leading to an institutional evolution that translates individual demands in changing rules in use. Such a topic has been addressed applying IAD Framework and Ostroms design principles of long-enduring irrigation systems on small self- organized farming communities in Northern Italy, having as support a qualitative methodology of analysis based on in depth interviews. As a result, it was notable that even if members of the community seem to understand and to accept all such principles, without exception, these principles by themselves have not led to a sustainable water management. This might be due to a lack of a well-supported common vision of the resource, besides by a level of trust and of positive social capital not sufficiently widespread on the score of improper leaderships experienced."

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