Thinking about the commons

Carol M. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This article explores current developments in theoretical thinking about the commons. It keys off contemporary reconsiderations of Garret Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons” and Elinor Ostrom’s response to Hardin in Governing the Commons and later work. Hardin’s idea of a “tragedy” has received much criticism, especially from Ostrom herself; but Ostrom’s own work has also raised some questions in more recent commons literature. The key issue that emerges from this reconsideration revolves around the understanding of commons on the one hand as limited common regimes, central to Ostrom’s work, or on the other hand as open access, as espoused by more recent advocates of widespread access to information and communications networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-566
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of the Commons
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • Collective action
  • Commons
  • Copyleft
  • Elinor Ostrom
  • Garrett Hardin
  • Information networks
  • Limited commons
  • Network effects
  • Open access
  • Propertization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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