Tuesday, April 23, 2013
PUBLICATION: Special Issue on Latin American Commons by the Journal of Latin American Geography
The Journal of Latin American Geography has published a special issue on Latin American Commons.
Latin America is a complex region in socio-cultural, economic and environmental terms, where natural resource commons play a significant role in the livelihoods of millions of people (Robson and Lichtenstein, this issue). Secure access to such resources is considered critical to regional and global environmental sustainability efforts and for helping marginalised groups escape hunger and poverty, and move towards greater self-determination ( Sen 1999; Alden Wily 2011). Yet our knowledge of how Latin American commons are currently used and governed remains limited. We know little, for example, about how individual country experiences compare, or the degree to which commons regimes are struggling to persist or transforming to endure in the face of globalization and other contemporary challenges
In order to fill some of these knowledge gaps, in January 2011 we organized a double session on Latin American commons at the 13th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC), held in Hyderabad, India. The purpose was to provide a platform for commons researchers, whose work was based in the region, to discuss their findings and experiences, to connect researchers, thematic foci, resource type and disciplinary backgrounds, and to provide impetus for future commons research. As part of these interactions, the potential for research to influence policy in the region was raised.
The event proved very successful and, consequently, we felt it was important that some of the lessons learned made it into print and reached a wider audience. It is therefore with great pleasure that we are able to present, in this special issue of JLAG, a series of articles that shed light on some of the important issues of the day affecting commons and commoners in Latin America. Some are borne out of the papers presented at the IASC conference and others build upon more recent work and thinking. All focus on natural resource commons; a bias that reflects both the types of commons predominantly studied in Latin America, as well as our own interests. Some of the articles focus on individual countries and others take a more regional approach, while some focus on one particular resource type and others encapsulate multiple resource commons.