Arizona State University
|The comparative analysis of case studies using systematically coded data and relational databases has led to significant advancements in the study of social-ecological systems (SES) and the commons. This workshop will not only introduce participants to the methodology and provide them with tools and resources for understanding how the use of coding, relational databases and comparative analysis may improve their research projects, but also how their research can contribute to the existing resource of knowledge that has been collected within existing relational databases.
Part 1 – The fundamentals of the methodology
The workshop will first focus on introducing participants to the fundamentals of the methodology, including important aspects of preliminary decision-making, structure, codebook development, coding protocols, processes and tools. We will discuss the challenges which can hamper coding and comparative analysis, as well as opportunities to improve or enhance research projects. We will also introduce a number of new tools being developed by an interdisciplinary group of early career scientists which are designed to help researchers connect with the deep resource of existing frameworks, theories, variables, and databases that relate to the study of social-ecological systems and the Commons. These tools can aid in the understanding of how popular frameworks and theories map to one another and how variables from one coding system or model compare with variables from another coding system or model, thus creating a basis by which important decisions about research design and methodology can be improved.
Part 2 – Coding applied to SES and Commons research
The second half of the workshop will focus on providing examples of how coding and comparative analysis techniques have shaped and continue to shape cutting edge SES and Commons research. We will showcase several prominent coding systems, discussing the processes and variables used, differences and commonalities, and the types of projects to which this methodology is currently being applied. This portion of the workshop will also link back to the tools presented during the first half of the workshop and discuss ways that participants can utilize and adapt these tools to their own projects.
Ratajczyk, E. et al, 2016. Challenges and opportunities in coding the commons: problems, procedures, and potential solutions in large-N comparative case studies. International Journal of the Commons 10(2): 440-466
Until recently most analyses on common-pool institutions have exhibited a clear static approach. Taking the performance of complex socio-ecological systems (however measured) as the variable to explain, literature has usually focused on identifying the exogenous factors (rules and institutions among them) susceptible of explaining disparate levels of success. Only in more recent years a more dynamic view has started to become more visible in the literature. Growing concerns around resilience, robustness and complex system adaptiveness has pushed scholars to pay increasing attention to the evolution of these systems over time and, especially, to the process of change in the institutions underlying commoners’ behavior.
The aim of this workshop is to bring this expertise on the long-term evolution of commons closer to other commons’ scholars. Historians’ specific interest with developments unfolding over long-term horizons, the importance of contextual factors, and beliefs, values and power dynamics, are likely to greatly benefit the current trend towards more dynamic analyses of the commons. In order to do that, in this workshop an overview of the main topics covered by historians studying commons over the last fifty years will be presented – with a special attention to current methodological attempts to study the evolution of common-pool institutions in the long run. Specifically, the workshop will be organized around three different blocks: (i) traditional historiography on the commons, (ii) the recent re-assesment of the commons among historians, and (iii) future perspectives for the historical analysis of the commons. Three lectures introducing each of these topics will be delivered to be followed by discussion among participants. In order to guarantee a fruitful discussion, participants in the workshop are strongly encouraged to read the items in the reference list in advance (particularly relevant readings are indicated with *). No specific requirements are needed to register in this workshop – except some general knowledge on current academic debates on the study of commons and similar collective-action institutions.
Allen, Robert C., 1982. The efficiency and distributional consequences of eighteenth century enclosures. The Economic Journal 92(368): 937-953.
De Moor, Tine, 2009. Avoiding tragedies: a Flemish common and its commoners under the pressure of social and economic change during the eighteenth century. The Economic History Review 62(1): 1-22.
De Moor, Tine, Laborda Pemán, Miguel, Lana Berasain, José-Miguel, Van Weeren, René, and Winchester, Angus, 2016. Ruling the commons. Introducing a new methodology for the analysis of historical commons. International Journal of the Commons 10(2): 529–588.
McCloskey, D., 1972. The enclosure of open fields: Preface to a study of its impact on the efficiency of English agriculture in the eighteenth century. The Journal of Economic History 32(1): 15-35.
For additional literature, download the extended literature list (pdf).