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Extending the Ostrom Perspective in History: Collective Resources in the Kingdom of Naples in the 13th and 18th Centuries

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Bulgarelli, Alessandra
Conference: Workshop on the Ostrom Workshop 5
Location: Indiana University, Bloomington
Conf. Date: June 18-21, 2014
Date: 2014
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/9406
Sector: History
Social Organization
Region: Europe
Subject(s): commons--history
Abstract: "Historical studies on commons were regarded for a long time as individual cases, local or regional, until the work of Elinor Ostrom provided a solid theoretical approach and allowed the development of comparative projects both in the national and international level. Until then in Italy as in Europe studies focused on the legal aspects of the phenomenon in their broader meaning--such as the establishment of a body of collective goods, its corpus of rules and its conflict--as well as investigating their end which started during the 18th century and continued especially during the liberalization wave of the 19th. In the light of Ostrom results, Garrett Hardin 's thesis concerning the indiscriminate exploitation of the commons has been revised also regarding the past. In reference to some European areas, historians have shown, on the basis of empirical and archival research, the existence of a rules governing the management of the commons capble of regulating and restricting the use of local resources in order to achieve a sustainable management. This paper draws on original archival research focuses on mainland Southern Italy, an area covering over 70,000 km2, regards the period of the XIII-XVIII, and brings together economic, social and institutional aspects of governing the commons there. The examination of the historical evidence reveals the extent to which the conceptual framework developed by Elinor Ostrom can be applied well beyond the original parameters and allows us to recover a rich experience at self- governance where the institutional aspect of endogenous matrix assumes a significant role in economic governance."

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