A new book “Balancing the Commons in Switzerland” by IASC member Tobias Haller


A new book on commons has just been published by IASC member Tobias Haller and his colleagues. In the book “Balancing the Commons in Switzerland”, by Routledge, the authors outline the continuity and change in the management of common-pool resources in Switzerland.

Commons in Switzerland

The book focuses on the differences and similarities between local institutions (rules and regulations) and forms of commoners’ organisations (corporations of citizens and corporations) which have managed common property for several centuries and have shaped the cultural landscapes of Switzerland.

Five case studies from the German, French and Italian speaking regions of Switzerland are used to examine the impact of external political, economic, and societal changes on commoners. The work of Robert Netting and Elinor Ostrom is used as a starting point and extended through analysis of how local commoners reacted to changes by adapting and transforming commons. By tracing changes back to the Late Middle Age and the transformative periods in the nineteenth and twentieth century the book shows the quite different routes that local collective organisations and their members have followed in order to cope with the loss of value of the commons and the increased workload for maintaining the commons.

The authors of the book provide insightful case studies of commons management, delivering theoretical contributions and lessons to be learned for the commons worldwide.

Haller, T., Liechti, K., Stuber, M., Viallon, F-X., and Wunderli, R. (2021). Balancing the Commons in Switzerland – Institutional Transformations and Sustainable Innovations. Oxon: Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-36748-873-4 (print), 978-1-00304-326-3


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