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Ostrom, the commons, and the anthropology of “earthlings” and their atmosphere

Dan Rabinowitz

Elinor Ostrom, joint winner (with Oliver Williamson) of the 2009 Nobel prize in economic sciences, was quickly recognized by anthropologists as an honorary member of the tribe, and as someone whose achievements are a tribute to the discipline (see Baumard 2009; Wutich and Smth 2009). A political scientist by training, Ostrom was not formally trained as an anthropologist or an ethnographer. This notwithstanding, her commitment to empirical field research and her preoccupation since the early 1970s with the role of collective action, trust, and cooperation in arrangements designed to enhance the management of common pool resources (CPRs) repeatedly directed her toward populations (indigenous groups at the margins of states) and issues (institutions designed and operated at the community level) usually associated with anthropology.

Affiliations

Rabinowitz, Dan - Tel Aviv University