The Contested Commons / Edition 1

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The Contested Commons explores the theme of common environmental resources from the dual perspectives of economics and anthropology, with a focus on developing countries.

  • Contributed readings written by senior scholars in the fields of Economics, Anthropology, and Sociology
  • Looks at the challenges of interdisciplinary work in the social sciences, illustrating the variation in approaches/methodology
  • Focuses on economic security, ecological sustainability, identity formation, and participatory decision-making, particularly in the developing world
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I strongly agree with Gintis and do not hesitate to say that The Contested Commons is a welcome addition to the literature not only for the social sciences but also for the humanities and natural sciences. I recommend this book as a must read not only for all the social scientists, but also policy analysts and personnel involved in the planning process." (Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research, 1 October 2011)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405157162
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/2/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Pranab Bardhan is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley, and co-chair of the MacArthur Foundation-funded Network on the Effects of Inequality on Economic Performance. He has authored or edited a number of books, including Scarcity, Conflicts, and Cooperation (2005) and International Trade, Growth, and Development (Blackwell, 2003). He was Chief Editor of the Journal of Development Economics from 1985 to 2003.

Isha Ray is Assistant Professor in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California at Berkeley. She is an advisor to several water- and development-related organizations, and serves on the editorial committee of the Annual Review of Environment and Resources.

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Table of Contents

List of Contributors.



1. Economists, Anthropologists, and the Contested Commons: Pranab Bardhan and Isha Ray (both University of California at Berkeley).

2. Managing the Commons: The Role of Social Norms and Beliefs: Jean-Philippe Platteau (University of Namur, Belgium).

3. Sustainable Governance of Common-pool Resources: Context, Method, and Politics: Arun Agrawal (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor).

4. Cooperative Conversations: Outcomes and Processes in Economics and Anthropology: Isha Ray (University of California at Berkeley).

5. Collective Action, Common Property, and Social Capital in South India: An Anthropological Commentary: David Mosse (University of London).

6. Culture and Power in the Commons Debate: Amita Baviskar (Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi).

7. A Simple Model of Collective Action: Rajiv Sethi and E. Somanathan (Columbia University and Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi).

8. Revisiting Demsetz: Contextualizing Community-Private Ownership in Western India: Pranab Mukhopadhyay (University of Goa, Panaji).

9. Scale and Mobility in Defining the Commons: Vyjayanthi Rao and Arjun Appadurai (both The New School, New York).

10. Symbolic Public Goods and the Coordination of Collective Action: A Comparison of Local Development in India and Indonesia: Vijayendra Rao (The World Bank, Washington, DC).

11. Interdisciplinarity as a Three-way Conversation: Barriers and Possibilities: Sharachchandra Lélé (Centre for International Studies in Environment and Development, Bangalore).

12. Feminism Spoken Here: Epistemologies for Interdisciplinary Development Research: Cecile Jackson (Institute of Development Studies, Brighton).


Commentary 1: Social Norms and Cooperative Behavior: Notes from the Hinterland between Economics and Anthropology: Kaushik Basu (Cornell University, New York).

Commentary 2: Sociologists and Economists on “the Commons”: Erik Olin Wright (University of Wisconsin, Madison).

Commentary 3: CPR Institutions: Game-theory Constructs and Empirical Relevance: Nirmal Sengupta (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Studies, Chennai).

Commentary 4: Disciplinary Perspectives and Policy Design for Common-pool Resources: Some Reflections: Kanchan Chopra (Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi).

Commentary 5: Understanding Common Property Resources and Their Management: A Potential Bridge across Disciplinary Divides?: A. Vaidyanathan (Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai).

Commentary 6: And Never the Twain Shall Meet? An Exchange on the Strengths and Weaknesses of Anthropology and Economics in Analyzing the Commons: Ravi Kanbur and Annelise Riles (Cornell University, New York).


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