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Accepted Paper:

Balancing the Commons in Switzerland. Between identity value and financial drudgery  
Tobias Haller (University of Bern)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is based on a comparative research in Switzerland on commoners organizations in Alpine areas in all language regions of the country. It shows the importance of coping with pressures from market and state and the will to maintain the commons that goes beyond economic gain.

Paper long abstract:

Since the work of Elinor Ostrom on Governing the Commons also based on the work of Robert Netting, Swiss commoners organizations are seen as being THE case against the tragedy of the commons and the avenue towards sustainability. The proof was the way these framer groups were installing and maintaining institutions for the sustainable governance of their forests, pastures and water sources. The SNF funded project SCALES (Sustainable Commons Adaptation to Landscape Ecosystems in Switzerland) had a look at this labelling in a comparative way in five areas in Switzerland in the German, French and Italian speaking parts of the country. The aim was to see how since the mid 18th century until today these commoners organizations were able to adapt to market and state conditions. The project shows that since the reduction of the value of common-pool resources such as timber and pasture related agricultural products the commoners are under high pressure, which the subsidies from the state cannot fully address. At the same time, we also see how commoners organizations cope differently with these pressures and have to balance with the market and the state in the context of legally guaranteed common property ownership. The commoners organizations are differently successful of doing this which was related to their bargaining power to state and municipalities but as well by the new solutions in a kind of Swiss commons lab, which also depended highly on how high the value of maintaining the commons was compared to the financial pressures.

Panel P079
Uncommon commons: value, hope, and transformations in high altitudes and high latitudes
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -