This is an entry which I contributed to the 2nd edition of the “Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology” Georg Ritzer (ed). 2017.
We take it as a sign of the times that, for the first time, a major English language social science reference work contains the term ‘commons’.
Commons are resources managed by a community for joint use. Commons have existed in different periods of time and in different cultural contexts as a wide variety of concrete institutions (Ostrom 1990). In the West, they have been marginalized by the rise of private property regimes at the outset of industrialization, particularly through the process of land enclosure (Linebaugh 2013). However, even in the West commons have never completely disappeared and, particularly in Alpine regions, traditional institutions of the commons have survived until today. Continue reading “Commons, informational (Dictionary Entry)”