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Making History Matter

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Walters, Bradley B.
Journal: The Commons Digest
Volume: 4
Date: 2007
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2852
Sector: Global Commons
Subject(s): common pool resources--history
resource management--history
collective action--history
Abstract: "The study of collective action and common property resource management could be deeply enriched by research that adopts a more explicit, analytically historical perspective. However, 'the past is another country' presents the study of historical commons as if this remains a distinct disciplinary pursuit from that of contemporary socio-economic approaches. In so doing, it tends to re-enforce a counter-productive and arguably false dualism between the historically 'descriptive' and the contemporary social 'scientific.' It further argues that the value of historical studies be measured in terms of their contribution to the development of general commons theory. In short, historical information is seen as a kind of untapped pool of empirical information that can be put to the test of contemporary theory. But some of us would argue that historical analysis is scientific in its own right, at least wherein it involves the intentional search for and rigorous testing of causal relationships between changes or events over time."

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