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Collective Action in Urban Social Ecological Systems

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Nath, Sanchayan
Conference: The City as a Commons: Reconceiving Urban Space, Common Goods and City Governance, 1st Thematic IASC Conference on Urban Commons
Location: Bologna, Italy
Conf. Date: November 6-7
Date: 2015
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9964
Sector: Urban Commons
Subject(s): collective action
governance and politics
natural resources
social-ecological systems
Abstract: "Over the years multiple scholars have qualitatively and quantitatively studied such urban collective action scenarios in order to understand the dynamics of such self-organizing behavior. Ostrom proposes a framework of variables which 'are posited to affect the likelihood of users engaging in collective action to self-organize' in a social-ecological system. Ostrom observes that 'interactions and outcomes depend on the specific combination of several variables'. Young et al (2006) note that scholars studying human-environment interaction in such complex social-ecological systems 'often encounter analytic and methodological problems thatare difficult to solve using familiar scientific procedures' as the 'dangers of ending up with spurious relationships are especially serious in research on human-environment interactions'. In their search for 'rigorous modes of analysis usable even in small-N situations' in view of the fact that '(s)tatistical inference never establishes causal connections in any definitive sense', they find promise in the use of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) methods to study human environment interactions. In this paper I seek to identify the causal combination of variables which affect outcomes in urban collective action situations around ecological or environmental resources. I do this by applying the QCA methodology. Specifically, the research question I seek to answer is – 'what causal combination of variables affects outcomes, in urban collective action scenarios around ecological and environmental social-ecological systems?' The source of data is published case studies on collective action in urban social-ecological systems. I seek to identify a framework of variables which can be used to test properties in such systems. I analyze how QCA tools can be used for testing such properties and then describe in detail the methodology used for analyzing data in this study. I also define the independent and outcome variables as used in this study. I then discuss findings and conclude this paper by highlighting the relevance of this project."

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