The Commons in a Glocal World: Global Connections and Local Responses, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Commons in a Glocal World

Global Connections and Local Responses, 1st Edition

Edited by Tobias Haller, Thomas Breu, Tine De Moor, Christian Rohr, Heinzpeter Znoj


520 pages | 45 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138484818
pub: 2019-05-16
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This volume focuses on how, in Europe, the debate on the commons is discussed in regard to historical and contemporary dimensions, referencing the work on Elinor Ostrom. It also explores how Europe directly and indirectly affected and affects, the commons globally from the perspective of new institutional political ecology (NIPE).

Most of the research on the management of commons pool resources is limited to dealing with one of two topics, either the interaction between local participatory governance and development of institutions for commons management, or political-economy approach that focuses on global change as it related to the increasingly globalised expansion of capitalist modes of production, consumption and societal reproduction. This volume bridges the two, addressing how global players affect the commons worldwide and how they relate to responses emerging from within the commons in a global-local (glocal) world. Authors from a range of academic disciplines present research findings on recent developments on the commons, including: historical insights; new innovations for participatory institutions building in Europe or several types of commons grabbing, especially in Africa; and restrictions on the management of commons at the international level. European case studies are included, providing interesting examples of local participation in commons resource management, whilst simultaneously showing Europe as a centre for globalized capitalism and its norms and values, affecting the rest of the world, particularly developing countries.

This book will be of interest to students and researchers from a wide range of disciplines including natural resource management, environmental governance, political geography and environmental history.

Table of Contents

Introduction: On Commons in a ‘Glocal’ World: Linking Local and Global Systems, Power Processes and Local Reactions in the Management of Common Pool Resources 

Tobias Haller, Thomas Breu, Christian Rohr, Tine de Moor and Heinzpeter Znoj

Part I Key Reflections: New Theoretical Issues on the Commons and their Transformations

1. Shared Ownership as Key Issue of Swiss History. Common Pool Resources, Common Property Institutions and their Impact on the Political Culture of Switzerland from the Beginnings to our Days

Daniel Schläppi

2. Social Causality of our Common Climate Crisis: Toward a Sociodicy for the Anthropocene

Jesse Ribot

3. Disruption, Community, and Resilient Governance: Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene

David Schlosberg

4. A definition of the commons, between human rights, resistance, and social change.

Elisabetta Cangelosi

5. Towards a New Institutional Political Ecology: How to marry external effects, institutional change and the role of power and ideology in commons studies

Tobias Haller 

PART II Features and Effects of Global (e.g. European) Investments on Commons in the World

6. Common challenges, different fates. The causal factors of failure or success in the commons: the pre-modern Brecklands (England) and the Campine (Southern Low Countries) compared

Maïka De Keyzer

7. For the Common Good: Regulating the Lake Constance Fisheries from 1350 to 1800

Michael Zeheter

8. The Commons in highland and lowland Switzerland over time: transformations in their organisation and survival strategies (seventeenth to twentieth century)

Anne-Lise Head-König

9. From Natural Supply to Financial Yields: the Common Fields of the Bernese Civic Corporation since the Seventeenth Century

Martin Stuber and Sarah Baumgartner

10. Universal values and the protection of commons: fighting corruption with bottom-up process in Mallorca

Ramez Eid

11. Constitutionality and Identity: Bottom-up Institution Building and Identity among Coastal Sami in Northern Norway

Angelika Lätsch

12. Swiss alpine pastures as common property: a success story of bottom-up institution-building in Sumvitg, Canton of Grisons, Switzerland

Gabriela Landolt 

Part III 'Land Grabbing' and the Commons

13. Impacts of large-scale land acquisitions on common-pool resources: Evidence from the Land Matrix

Markus Giger, Kerstin Nolte Ward Anseeuw, Thomas Breu, Wytske O. Chamberlain, Peter Messerli1, Christoph Oberlack and Tobias Haller

14. "They said they were bringing a development project.":‘Best-practice’ large-scale land acquisition or ‘commons grabbing’ in Ghana’s Volta Region?

Kristina Lanz

15. Grabbing the Female Commons: Large‐Scale Land Acquisitions for forest plantations and impacts on gender relations in Kilolo district, Iringa Region, Tanzania

Désirée Gmür

16. Gendered Impacts and Coping Strategies in the Case of a Swiss Bioenergy Project in Sierra Leone

Franziska Marfurt

17. The Open Cut: Mining, Transnational Corporations and the Commons

Thomas Niederberger, Madlen Kobi and Tobias Haller

18. Are Green Energy Investments levelled by the ‘New Commons’? Compensations, CSR Measures and Gendered Impacts of a Solar Energy Project in Morocco

Sarah Ryser

19. Global Changes in Local Governance of the Commons: The Case of the African Parks Foundation Engagement in Nech Sar National Park, Ethiopia

Girma Kelboro and Till Stellmacher

20. Discourse and Entanglement in a Transnational Conservation Arena. Deciphering the Ideologies and Narratives behind Conservation Discourse in the ‘Glocal’ Commons in Kenya.

Samuel Weissman

21. Rain Forest Anomy. National parks, REDD+ implementation and the run to the forest in Jambi, Indonesia.

Heinzpeter Znoj, Rahel Jud and Yudi Bachtiakora

Part IV Commons, Privatisation and International Law: Water and Seeds

22. A Structured Checklist to Identify Connections Between Land Grabbing and Water Grabbing

Insa Theesfeld

23. International investment agreements and mega-regionals: Promoting or undermining the right to water?

Rodrigo Polanco Lazo and Azernoosh Bazrafkan

24. The Human Right to Water in India: in search of an alternative commons-based approach in the context of climate change

Birsha Ohdedar

About the Editors

Tobias Haller is Professor at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland

Thomas Breu is Director, Centre for Development and Environment, and Executive Director, International Graduate School North-South, University of Bern, Switzerland.

Tine de Moor is a Professor in the Department of Social and Economic History, Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Christian Rohr is Professor of Environmental and Climate History, University of Bern, Switzerland.

Heinzpeter Znoj is Professor at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland.

About the Series

Earthscan Studies in Natural Resource Management

Earthscan Studies in Natural Resource Management
This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to natural resource management, integrating perspectives from both social and natural sciences. It includes textbooks, research monographs and titles aimed at professionals, NGOs and policy-makers. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Hannah Ferguson, Editor (

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Intellectual Property / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy