Changing Identities over Commons during the Process of Agricultural Industrialization: The Case of Galician (NW Spain) since 1960

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"In this paper, our aim is to explore the importance of cultural identities to understand the viability of common institutions. The idea developed here starts with a dialogue with Ostrom thesis that, for institutional analysis, although the analysis of the rules has a central role, the same theoretical range of variables, which are exogenous to any situation of action, is occupied by another two elements: the attributes of the community and the biophysical and material conditions. The role of identities, central for understand the attributes of the community, has been examined much less by historians despite the enormous development of Cultural History in recent years. Our case study is the so-called Neighborhood-Owned Common Lands in North West Spain. In a economic context of agricultural industrialization, and in the political context of Spanish democratic transition, the perception of the local communities on the meaning of commons has changed. From a common interpreted as an essential resource for family reproduction, managed collectively but exploited individually, many owners start to think in a common understand as a public good, as an institution that can replace local governments. This changes play a central role in assure sustainability of common institutions today."