Tag Archives: institutions

Conference “Experiments, system innovation and sustainability transitions in Asia”

Experiments, system innovation and sustainability transitions in Asia
15-17 July, 2010, AMARI Rincome Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand
*** Call for Papers***
Deadline for Short Papers: 30 April, 2010
Transitions to alternative, more sustainable, development pathways are crucial to human well-being world-wide, but have been more studied with the focus of policy action mainly in developed country contexts. However, the transformative changes occurring now in the rapidly urbanising and industrialising Asian countries mean that this focus needs to shift. Transitions towards more sustainable development pathways are also fundamental challenges in emerging and rapidly-growing economies and societies.
Achieving a more profound decoupling of economic growth and development gains from resource and pollution intensities requires deep-seated social, institutional and technological change. Such change needs to be systemic in the sense of affecting structures and behaviour across the economy and society; what has come to be called ‘system innovation’.
Previous research has shown that system innovation occurs through a quasi-evolutionary interaction between innovations emerging in niches and opportunities for change opening-up in socio-technical regimes. System innovation involves the destabilisation of existing incumbent regimes and their reconfiguration or transformation by new technologies, actors, behaviours and rules. Such processes tend to take time; typically some decades.
The new research challenge is to apply these concepts and ideas to rapidly-developing country contexts. Here socio-technical regimes are already undergoing transformation, but often following models from technologically-leading countries. The question is whether in rapidly developing country contexts we can also identify interactions between niches generating sustainable alternatives and emergent socio-technical regimes that could transform development pathways.
There is preliminary evidence of a great variety of ‘sustainability experiments’ – defined as planned initiatives to embody a highly-novel socio-technical configuration likely to lead to substantial (environmental) sustainability gains – underway in Asia. This conference will focus on the nature and role of these spaces for innovation in transforming Asian development pathways in field such as energy, mobility, agriculture and housing in both urban and rural areas.
The conference will take stock of what has been learned in the IHDP-IT (International Human Dimensions Programme Core Project on Industrial Transformation) over the last years, as well as move forward the new research agenda now supported by the APN (Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research). We welcome an international network of researchers, practitioners, policy makers and other actors who are interested in exploring alternative, more sustainable development pathways.
All enquiries about the conference should be directed to the conference email: it-apn2010@ivm.vu.nl. Information about registration, accommodation, venue etc will be posted at the conference website.
The conference is organised under the auspices of the IHDP’s Industrial Transformation project; APN – Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research; USER, Chiang Mai University, Thailand; Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands and the Jadavpur University, India.

Capturing the Complexity of the Commons

International Association for the Study of the Commons North American Regional Meeting

Hosted by the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity and the Consortium for Biosocial Complex Systems

September 30 – October 2, 2010, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (USA)

Capturing the Complexity of the Commons

The North American regional meeting of the IASC will have as its theme “capturing the complexity of the commons” reflecting the increasing efforts to understand commons over time at multiple levels of scale. The goal is to foster more discussion and collaboration especially among North American researchers working on commons from an interdisciplinary point of view. We invite scholars from the natural and social sciences as well as humanities and arts.

The conference is interdisciplinary and open to any individual interested in common-pool resources and common property issues. It is aimed at encouraging the discussion on the conference topics among researchers and practitioners living in North American or elsewhere. This should result in a stronger research network and an enhanced exchange of experiences primarily among North American researchers and students working on the Commons and also with scholars elsewhere.

The conference is organized in 3 subthemes:

This theme address the increasing focus of commons research on cases with historical depth, multiple resources and resource uses, and multiple levels of social and ecological processes. Topics included in this subtheme are the resilience of common pool resources, institutional learning and adaptation, and transboundary commons and conflicts.

New Commons
This theme includes commons that can be grouped in four broad classes: the urban commons, the virtual commons, the environmental services and public health. Research on those topics using conceptual tools designed for the study of commons has strongly increased in the last few years. Moreover, many of those commons are, at present, crucial for the welfare of human beings as a whole.

Multiple Methods to Study the Commons
This theme addresses the methodological contributions to study the commons including ethnographic case studies, collaborative field studies, experiments, formal modeling and participatory processes. Besides contributions of the individual methodologies we recognize the benefits of using multiple methods to address the same research questions.

We welcome proposals for panels, workshops, and individual papers relating to the three subthemes of the conference:

Panels and Workshops. Submit a proposal to organize a 1.5 hour concurrent panel session (3 to 4 speakers and session chair) or workshop (a practically-oriented session with 2 or 3 speakers, session facilitator, and sufficient time for audience questions). Proposals include an abstract of the goal and topic of the session (maximum of 350 words), include names and affiliations of the organizer and individual presenters, and provide abstracts for the individual papers (maximum 250 words).
Proposals for panels and workshops are due April 1, 2010.

Individual Papers. Submit an abstract to give a 20-minute oral presentation. Abstracts should be a maximum of 250 words. Include the name, title and affiliation of each author. Abstracts will be peer reviewed and are due April 1, 2010. Confirmation of acceptance of the abstract will be sent by May 1, 2010Final papers are due September 1, 2010 (details will be sent to authors upon abstract acceptance).

Conference Proceedings. All abstracts and submitted papers will be made available online (digital library of the commons). All conference paper submissions will be peer reviewed and a selection of the papers will be considered for a special issue of the International Journal of the Commons.

Submission of Abstracts . All abstracts must be submitted electronically in Word, text, or pdf format. Abstracts should be submitted via the conference website.

Elinor Ostrom on Adaptiveness – A Quick Reader

Congratulations to Elinor Ostrom at Indiana University and Arizona State University to a Nobel Prize! These are indeed fantastic news.

While the award she received  praised her decades long contribution to how social actors build institutions to overcome the “Tragedy of the Commons”, Prof. Ostrom has also made some very important contributions to ongoing discussions on the features of adaptiveness in the face of change and surprise in complex social-ecological systems. Two key publications in my view, are those co-authored with Bobbi Low and colleagues (2003), and later work on the dangers of panaceas in natural resources management (2007).

Elinor Ostrom

In the book chapter “Redundancy and Diversity in Governing and Managing Common-Pool Resources” (in the book Navigating Social-Ecological Systems, Building Resilience for Complexity and Change, Cambridge University Press, 2003), Ostrom and colleagues elaborate the need to understand why redundant and diversity in institutions play a key role in coping with change and surprise. While redundancy and diversity often are viewed as inefficient and lead to serious coordination failures, Ostrom argues that they also provide “back-up” options when governance systems fail to respond. They also allow for prompt re-organization after a shock similar as that observed for ecological systems.

Her 2007 article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), “Going Beyond Panaceas” with Arizona colleagues Marty Anderies and Marco Janssen, is a great summary of the dangers of applying top-down blue-prints in natural resource management. While this certainly has been said before, Elinor Ostrom and colleagues are the only ones able to combine the message with both solid empirical evidence (both from the field and experiments) with a robust theoretical understanding (ranging from game theory  to agent-based modeling, and more general frameworks).

What’s in the future for this brilliant researcher? Well, it seems like a lot of energy is being invested in elaborating the robustness of institutions further through the application of the “diagnostic approach”, also presented in PNAS in 2007. Some really interesting work also seem to emerge in collaboration with Marco Janssen (ASU) on institutional innovation in dynamic spatial commons. You can watch a short presentation with Lin Ostrom about overcoming the Tragedy of the Commons here.