Call for Contributions

Call for papers, panels and other contributions

“Our Commons Future”
XVIII Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons

Deadline 1st of March 2021

The local organizer of the XVIII Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons welcome abstracts for papers to be presented at the conference, to be held in Tempe, Arizona, USA, from 11 to 15 October 2021. The meeting will be held at the Tempe campus of Arizona State University. Tempe is a town within the Phoenix metropolitan area, Arizona, in the southwest of the United States. Both Arizona State University and the University of Arizona will facilitate the organization of the conference.

With the theme of the conference, “Our Commons Future”, we intend to bring together commons scholars from a diverse set of application domain and addresses future governance challenges from the local to a global scale.

During the conference, opportunities will be created to connect academic research to practitioners’ experience and vice versa. Below you find an overview of the main themes to be addressed by academic papers, as well as information about the submission of multi-stakeholder workshops.

Questions? Get in touch with the conference organizers:

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Conference tracks

Conference tracks that can be addressed in submitted abstracts for academic papers and posters, are the following:

This track will focus on the relation between people, commons resources, the state, markets, and the role of sub-national governments. We invite proposals engaging with issues related to the interplay between polycentric governance, the governance of global resources, the interplay of climate change and conservation policies, and the impact of interactions between local change and the future of global resources. We also welcome proposals on new economic strategies such as REDD and PES (payments for environmental services) as mechanisms to promote conservation and how these interact with the commons and community governance.

The increasing urbanization seen globally generates new challenges for shared resources in urban environments, including urban agriculture, parks conservation, the adequate provision of water and sanitation, energy, waste collection and other services, and the provision of open spaces for recreation. In addition, proposals under this track may explore the consequences of the sharing economy, privatization of utilities, and social justice of resource distributions.

Due to the increasing urbanization, rural areas depopulate and rural communities face new difficulties to sustain. Rural communities also need to cope with powerful actors like mining companies, industrial farming, land-grabbing, and environmental change. In this track, we welcome contributions on how rural communities cope with these new and difficult challenges, including initiatives like green growth.

This track deals with the growing material and economic flows of the world economy, the continuous expansion of the agro-industrial and extractive frontiers, and the challenges these pose for local commons. Proposals under this track will explore the governance of local commons in a globalizing world, varying from groundwater extraction to fisheries, forestry, and pastoralism.

In this track, we welcome contributions on the study of the governance common over time, from perspectives of human evolution, history, and archaeology, to future studies on transitions of current governance practices. How do lessons on governing the commons from the past inform how to manage our shared resources in a globalizing world with permanent surveillance, non-human actors, and disappearance of small-scale communities.

This track explores studies on commons defined by knowledge systems, including innovation spaces, digital resources like Wikipedia and Stack exchange, open-source software development, the future of science and education, the archival of existing knowledge, cultural commons, and citizen science. What are the opportunities (low costs of sharing and reproduction) and challenges (privacy, security, freeriding, inequality, manipulation, artificial intelligence)?

In this track, we explore commons in outer space, from the satellites and space debris increasing occupying the atmosphere, to the mining of celestial bodies. What can we learn from governing shared resources on Earth to derive fair and productive outcomes when governing shared resources in space? How do we create a fair use of the benefits of knowledge and innovations due to space research and how do we solve collective action problems to ensure the long-term sustainability of space activities.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN have the potential to support the urgently needed global transition to shared and lasting prosperity. However, the knowledge base needed to address the goals systemically is still lacking and a “silo mentality” towards viewing the goals in an isolated manner continues. SDGs have also been critiqued as perpetuating the top-­‐down approach to development that has proven to be ineffective. In this track, we welcome contributions that build on the knowledge of self-governance and management of shared resources to evaluate practical ways to achieve SDGs in an integrated way at different scales.

This track will enable conference participants to share their experiences on the various methodological approaches applied to the understanding of the commons. Contributions could include case study comparison, institutional grammar, qualitative comparative analysis, experimental games in the lab, and the field, for research, education and interventions, big data and machine learning, computational modeling, and other qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Submission guidelines

  • Abstracts can be submitted for posters, speed talks, individual papers, and papers belonging to a coherent session. See below for details.
  • All abstracts should be submitted via the IASC Conference Registration system
  • All submissions should be in English
  • The abstract submission system is open and available here.
  • Not more than two abstracts per presenter are accepted.
  • The text of your abstract should be no longer than 400 words (including references) and entered as flat-text via the online registration procedure by March 1st, 2021 at the latest
  • All abstracts will be peer-reviewed by at least two selected reviewers.  You will be notified about the reviewing result ultimately by the 30th of  April 2021.
  • In case you wish to submit a panel proposal (consisting of 4 papers), please note that:
    • the main organizer of the panel first needs to submit a panel proposal with an abstract on the session’s content and needs to inform the authors of the 4 papers about the submission number that will be provided after submission of the panel (via a confirmation email).
    • sessions are only considered if all four paper proposals are also individually submitted by their authors, including the reference to the submission number of the panel. It is the responsibility of the main session organizer to inform the authors of the participating papers about this procedure.   
    • panels are only included in the program if all four individual papers are accepted by the reviewers and if all authors have registered by August 2021. If the authors have not registered in time, the organizers will allocate the papers of registered authors to other panels, if possible.

Multi-stakeholder Workshops

Like previous IASC conferences the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue will provide a podium for knowledge exchange on the commons across different social actors. These Workshop sessions can take different formats (e.g., roundtable, workshop, living lab, open discussion, etc) and will be structured around a particular question or challenge and composed by at least two different stakeholders (e.g., citizen, practitioner, company, policy maker, researcher, activist).

The proposal should include:
1) a brief explanation of the societal relevance of the main topic and the Dialogue format
2) a list of the participants (at least two different categories of stakeholder – with the ideal being three or more) and their expected contribution
3) How knowledge exchange and/or co-production will be promoted during the session

We are looking forward to seeing you in Arizona!