Design Principles, Common Land, and Collective Violence in Africa

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Date

2019

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Abstract

"The conventional wisdom blames colonialism as the root cause of violence in Africa, but at the expense of analytical clarity about the context of collective violence over common land. This article uses qualitative data and Elinor Ostrom’s perspective on governing the commons to analyze collective violence over common land in an African community. It finds that the absence of certain design principles strikes at the root of the violence in the African case. Exploring the less understood intricacies enriches analytical clarity about the conditions that lend themselves to sustaining the commons and gaining the compliance of generation after generation of resource users with property rights institutions for governing the commons."

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land tenure and use, design principles, property rights, violence

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