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Communities and Sustainability in Medieval and Early Modern Aragon, 1200-1600

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Echegaray, Esther Pascua
Journal: International Journal of the Commons
Volume: 5
Page(s): 535-556
Date: 2010
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7559
Sector: History
Social Organization
Region: Europe
Subject(s): husbandry
collective action
land tenure and use
rural affairs
natural resources
Abstract: "This paper examines the case of sheep raising in Aragon from the 13th to the 17th century to explore the political dynamics and social criteria that rural communities used to manage their common land, and their role in larger economic and political frameworks. In the line of recent historiography about the commons, the research connects the strength of rural communities, institutional arrangements governing access to natural resources, and environmental efficiency. The hypothesis is that the 'social reproduction' of the community was the aim that defined the collective action of strong and horizontal communities. They preserved their natural resources and defended large swathes of common land from foreigners. However, when these communities acted in a more complex system of transhumance within the framework of poorly articulated kingdoms, they would tend to predate others resources and keep others commons open to their free access. The outcome was the existence of large, but very different, and contested, kinds of commons."

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