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A Comparative Study on Two Community Building Based on Commons: Focusing on the Result of Different Membership

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Choe, Hyun; Lee, Jaesub
Conference: In Defense of the Commons: Challenges, Innovation and Action, the Seventeenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Lima, Peru
Conf. Date: July 1-5
Date: 2019
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/10639
Sector: Social Organization
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): community
commons
sustainability
Abstract: "This paper compares the cases of Seonheul 1-ri and Gasi-ri, where communities were built based on commons but commons ownership modes were different. Seonheul 1-ri built a community based on 'Dongbaekdongsan' owned by Jeju do and the central government, while Gasi-ri built a community based on a common pasture owned by a farm association. In comparing these two cases, this paper will discuss how the difference in ownership mode s affected the community building and commons management methods. This paper shows that a village’s ownership of the commons may paradoxically interfere with the formation of a stable commons management body in some cases. Whereas the farm cooperative association of which the members are 270 village residents, has the ownership of the common pasture in the case of Gasi-ri , the central government owns 'Dongbaekdongsan' in the case of Seonheul 1-ri . Although both villages successfully built communities , in the case of Gasi-ri, the members of the village council, which is the commons management body, are divided into association members and non association members. In the case of Seonheul 1-ri , all members of the village are equal in their statuses in the village council since there is no farm cooperative association with the ownership of commons. Therefore, the community of Seonheul 1-ri has a good structure for immigrant s to settle into. The non association members who have actively participated in community building in Gasi-ri are leaving and thus the population of Gasi-ri is stagnant. On the contrary , the population of Seonheul 1-ri is increasing rapidly as the number of immigrating residents grows. Even when the village manages the commons, conflict s can be amplified in cases where some of the residents or the association to which some but not all of the residents belong own s the commons . Due to the inequality between persons with and without ownership, the managing body of the commons can become unstable. To stably promote community building, the commons should be owned by the village or the villagers rather than by outsiders, an enterprise, or the state. However, even when the village or the villagers have the ownership of the commons, if there is inequality among village residents around the commons it may interfere with community building or the maintenance of the sustainability of the commons. On the contrary, if the commons is expropriated by the government and the right of the village to stably manage the commons is guaranteed although the village does not have first hand ownership, a community can be built and the sustainability of the commons can be maintained for a long time because the residents are equal. To manage the commons effectively to remain sustainable hereafter, village resident s should be continuously filled and to this end the village council should have an equal and open structure."

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