Verso un approccio integrato allo studio delle risorse naturali comuni. Teoria dei Commons e sociologia dell’ambiente
| STUDI DI SOCIOLOGIA - 2008 - 2
The social consequences of the progressive degradation of common natural resources (or
commons) are the focus of debate among scholars of environmental change. Towards the end of
the twentieth century, two areas of research on the commons consolidated: the Theory of
Common-Pool Resources and Environmental Sociology. On one hand, three decades of empirical
research have revealed many rich and complicated histories of commons management. Elinor
Ostrom and scholars of Indiana University have shown that the logic of commons management
depends on a set of assumptions about human motivation, about the rules governing the use of
the commons, about the character of the common resources and about institutional framework.
On the other hand, starting from Riley Dunlap, environmental sociology has investigated the
field of social impact of environmental crisis emphasizing the crucial role of the human social
behaviour to response environmental problems. These two strands of research have proceeded
independently of each other, but the complexity of the relationship between society and environment
now requires a rapprochement. This paper provides a necessarily selective overview of
this new integrated framework and examines the opportunities it offers.