Thanks to all who submitted abstracts for IASC 2015.  We are excited to have received over 900 abstracts from more than 65 countries.  If you have not received information about your abstract, please contact


Presenters are encouraged to prepare an extended abstract or full paper for distribution to other conference participants.  Please use the links to "Read Guidelines" and "Upload my Paper Now" to submit your papers by May 1st, 2015.


For those preparing a poster, please use the link "Read Guidelines" and bring your poster to Edmonton for poster sessions beginning May 26th at 9am.

Guidelines for
Papers and Posters 
  • climate change problems, responses and adaptations;
  • impact of climate change on common pool resources;
  • climate change adaptation strategies that sustain the ‘commons’;
  • lessons from commons theory for climate change policy makers.

  • new methodologies and tools for managing the commons;
  • roles and responsibilities of practionners in building knowledge;
  • opportunities and challenges in the not-for-profit sector;
  • community-based research and practice;
  • assets and capabilities for managing the commons;
  • working on global issues at the local scale.

I​V -  The Commons in Action ​

The research and practice of NGOs, communities and non-academic institutions are important to understanding how to address practical ‘commons’ issues.  

  • poverty and food insecurity;
  • economic incentives and benefits of the ‘commons’;
  • agricultural trade, regulation and policy; Privatization of water resources / water trading;
  • ecosystem services and outputs;
  • health implications (costs/benefits) of resource management decision-making.

I​II -  Food Security, Livelihoods and Well-being​
This theme addresses the challenges associated with the human dimensions (quality of life) of the ‘commons’.  What are the opportunities and challenges for improving food security and building sustainable livelihoods?  This theme also links questions of environment, agriculture and resource management to solving problems of socio-economic marginalization.  
I​I -  The Commons in a Global Political Economy​
The global political economy presents many new challenges for the ‘commons’.  Understanding the fit between local-global perspectives is particularly important in an increasingly global world.  How do political and economic institutions at larger scales facilitate or limit sustainable use and management at local scales?  Given the tension between a neo-liberal trend towards decentralization and increased interest in the successes of ‘community-based resource management’, the conference will offer opportunities for critical thinking and discussion on such themes as:  
  • economic tradeoffs and non-market evaluation;
  • policy innovations for improved food security;
  • cooperatives and the social-economy; 
  • community capabilities, social and cultural capital; ​
  • social movements and collective action.

I -  Defining the Commons: Building Knowledge through Collaboration

The meaning and significance of the ‘commons’ varies depending on the disciplinary, socio-economic and geographic position of those engaged in, or living with, common pool resources as well as the particularities of the resource itself.  Abstracts are encouraged that consider:

  • alternative perspectives, histories or conceptual framing of the commons;
  • dynamics, variability and change of commons resources and communities;
  • cross cultural investigations of property rights, rules and rules in use: local knowledge, Indigenous Knowledges and/or Indigenous customary law;
  • opportunities and challenges for linking theory on the ‘commons’ to practice and policy;
  • knowledge sharing and relationship building;
  • knowledge synthesis and analysis of the thirty-year history of commons research and practice;
  • technologies of / for the commons – social networking and innovation.

​VII -  The Commons and Climate Change
Climate change has led to new kinds of stresses on common pool resources in many parts of the world.  The effects of global warming are particularly well understood in polar regions and areas of the global south.  Although Indigenous communities in these regions have experienced significant natural variability in their environments over generations, the threat of climate change is creating new kinds of challenges.  Abstracts are welcome that deal with many aspects of the climate change debate including: 
  • perspectives and knowledges of environmental change;
  • ​dealing with risk and uncertainty;
  • managing environmental ‘goods’ and ‘bads’;
  • dealing with climate change;
  • environmental security.

15th Biennial Global Conference

International Association for the Study of the Commons 

​VIII -  Indigenous Peoples and Resource Development

Indigenous peoples have a unique position vis-à-vis resource development.  Historically, many Indigenous communities

managed lands and resources as a ‘commons’ however, resource development
activities are changing such social and ecological relations:

  • Learning from the economic and cultural histories of Indigenous peoples;
  • ​Changes to the governance models and status quo;
  • Conflicts and synergies between private, public and community conceptualizations and ‘rules’ for managing the ‘commons’;
  • Opportunities and challenges for sustainable resource development.

Guidelines for Papers and Posters 

  • whose commons?  who benefits and who does not?

  • risk society and the commons;

  • power and agency in the governance and management of commonly valued natural resources;

  • co-management and the tensions between rules and rules in use; conflicts over privatization and the new/old enclosures;

  • cross scale problems -  working across social, cultural and ecological scales to build local and global sustainability.

​V -  Social-Ecological Resilience ​

How resilient is the ‘commons’ to the stresses of the global political economy?  Fostering resilience necessitates understanding people and resources as an integrated social-ecological system.  The conference invites theoretical discussion on resilience to the stresses and uncertainties of ecological variability change.   In addition to understanding the impacts and implications of the loss or degradation of valued resources, there is an equally urgent need to understand socio-economic, cultural and health responses and implications.

​VI -  Dealing with Risk, Conflict and Uncertainty
The conference is also interested in abstracts that deal with questions of power and governance of the ‘commons’.