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WOW5: The Workgroup at the Workshop on the Ostrom Workshop!

Our working group with the initial submission that will need to be revised as the project evolves, currently towards the elaboration of a Pattern Language system for a paradigm shift based on the commons. List of other working groups is attached.

#8.  The Commons as Transformative Paradigm. Interweaving the Different Variations of Commons Logic to Build a Sustainable Economy of Abundance
Work sessions schedule: tbd.
Conference dates: June 18-21, 2014 in Boomington Indiana
Coordinators: Wolfgang Hoeschele and Helene Finidori
Diverse initiatives aiming to create a better world often work in relative isolation. They may have difficulty pinpointing exactly what that they have in common, and how they could create productive synergies to make all the movements together greater than the sum of their parts . Our purpose is to explore whether and how a commons logic can support the actions of diverse sustainability and social change initiatives to grow the commons as a whole, toward a sustainable economy of abundance. How can we help federate, network, or interlink disparate efforts, across worldviews and action logics, while leveraging the diversity of existing movements, regardless of whether they explicitly refer to the commons in their work?
We will also set the premises of a discussion on Pattern Language
Some questions to explore:
  •  How do various action logics and models of inquiry relate to the commons, and what mechanisms used by different movements (e.g., social justice, solidarity economy, commons, environmentalism) are most congruent with a commons logic?
  • How could these mechanisms best help advance each individual initiative?
  • How could a frame of reference to the commons help build greater common ground and networking among these groups?
  • What are the benefits, costs or barriers of networking, and how can the benefit/cost ratio be improved through computer technologies?
  • How could commons logic be used to monitor and 'vet' sustainability and social change initiatives and policies
  •  What limits and stress points do we need to address, in particular fine lines between protection and enclosure, cooperation and control?
  • What further research is needed?

The abstracts submitted by participants in our working group:

Towards a Creativity Commons
by Joe Corneli
The commons is vastly complicated. And yet, many different people and organizations who claim to work with the commons in mind would also like to funnel prospective participants through their worldview, their “action logic”. A metacommons strategy tries, reflexively, to provide a channel for understanding and collaboratively improving the shared channels that shape thought and action. This view is rooted in a perspective on the commons as "not transcending, but underlying," in the words of Helene Finidori, as it seeks to integrate "local solutions to local problems" across diverse domains. The paper will use the idea of a metacommons to develop a new approach to cultural creativity — more often referred to as “adaptation" in the anthropology literature — by looking for the underlying "commons logic" within diverse action logics. The paper will consider examples of metacommons thinking from three organisations working in the knowledge and education domains:, the Free Knowledge Institute, and the Peeragogy project. These projects are analysed using a catalog of heuristic design patterns that were initially developed in the Peeragogy project. This methodology will be systematically discussed using selected literature on human creativity. The paper argues in favor of moving our thinking about free/open culture (far) beyond the copyright-based mechanisms of the Creative Commons, to develop a robust extra-legal metacommons as a portable “kit” for building a Creativity Commons.


The commons as transformative paradigm to coalesce efforts towards a thrivable world
by Helene Finidori

This presentation examines engagement and the drivers for transformative action, and the conditions under which disparate efforts of all kinds can coalesce to generate systemic impact and bring about a new paradigm generative of thrivability, sustainability and equity. Challenging the assumption that open groups of change agents and activists can agree on the representation and materialization of a shared overarching vision, goals and priorities (even on the commons themselves!), it places itself in the context of an ecology for transformative action with its diversity, systems and processes, and examines a variety of forms of engagement under the lens of action logics. Action logics are derived from leadership and psychological development theory, generally used in constructive developmental approaches. They reflect the affective, behavioral and cognitive modalities which drive people's thinking, experience and action. In this presentation, action logics are applied horizontally as a meaning-making framework to understand the nature and processes of engagement and to examine what type of common underlying logic, and in particular of commons logic, could manifest as common ground across action logics. Ultimately it opens up further areas of research and practical applications for bringing to awareness the common ground elements that would help 'activate' and leverage agency wherever it can be found (and in particular in the mainstream) in a way that nurtures the commons at all levels and in all its dimensions and that could lead to the elaboration of multistakeholder dialogue facilitation methodologies around the logic of the commons.

The Participatory Collective and the Commons

by Anne Caspari, Bonnitta Roy, Mushin Schilling


At the end of the anthropocene era, the commons have been carved up into isolated islands. This has put the commons into jeopardy.  As we isolate our selves through categories of inclusion and exclusion, as individual people, nations, corporations — the commons has been subtly reduced to bounded places. We need to reverse this process, and reimagine the commons as a sacred, unbounded participatory place where we come to life, where we create more life, where we live in community with each other and participate in the larger life-affirming field of bio-psycho-cultural-conceptual diversity.
The truth is, we are always already participating — participation  is the fundamental requirement for life itself. The tragedy is that we are not participating fully, with full consciousness and absolute trust in the participatory nature of living-being.
It is possible to overcome the isolation by a process that interweaves individuals into participatory collectives that enhances bio-psycho-social-conceptual diversity without the need to unify them. In this process a new kind of “inner commons” emerges, as an expanded space that includes both the uniqueness and the interconnection between the participants. The sacred space is experienced first hand and can therefore function as solid, trusted foundation for reimagining the commons in the outer world, and gaininsight into the many facets of participatory diversity where all beings truly belong.

Needs, Organizational Forms and Resources for Abundance as a Route toward Common Ground among Diverse Movements
by Wolfgang Hoeschele

How can we create greater common ground among a variety of different movements (e.g., social justice, minority rights, social and solidarity economy, commons, environment, green), while recognizing their differences? It is necessary to establish such common ground in order to build viable alternatives for the entire economy, but trying to homogenize movements with diverse aims would dampen their vitality. At the Commons Abundance Network, we are addressing this issue by appealing to people from all these different movements to contribute to and learn from the knowledge base that we are building, called NORA: Needs, Organizational Forms and Resources for Abundance. The idea is to find ways by which the needs of humans and other living things can be met while using resources sustainably, through the choice of appropriate organizational forms. Initiatives for social justice tend to be motivated by distress that so many people’s needs are not met, while environmentalists are worried that natural resources are being overused and degraded. Meanwhile, economists and political economists, regardless of their ideological bent, tend to see the world through the lens of organizational forms. The NORA knowledge base can serve to show how all of these approaches can focus on some aspects of the challenges ahead, while recognizing their interlinkages and possible synergies. As a work in progress, we still have much to learn how to stimulate useful conversations and make those synergies actually happen.





Abstract submitted by Wolfgang Hoeschele for session #44, (The) Use of Meta-Analysis in Studies of the Commons—Coordinating Efforts and Sharing Knowledge
Coordinator: Michael Schoon

The NORA Knowledge Base of the Commons Abundance Network
by Wolfgang Hoeschele

Today, we seem trapped in an economy that offers us no alternatives to a market that values only scarce resources and therefore creates incentives to make things scarce – at the cost of individual freedom, social equity, and environmental sustainability. But alternatives exist; it is of critical importance that knowledge about them is widely disseminated and shared. The Commons Abundance Network, co-founded by the speaker, is building a database called NORA (Needs, Organizational forms, and Resources for Abundance) which allows “approaches toward abundance” to be searched according to the needs to be met, the types of organizational forms to be adopted, or the resources to be managed sustainably. This provides a framework for the organization of case study material, while also providing a gateway for practitioners to access useful information and contact and collaborate with helpful people and organizations. We thus hope to help build bridges among academics as well as people involved in diverse initiatives on the ground.

The abstracts submitted by participants to other working groups we will collaborate with:

by  Leandro Meyer & Marcelo José Braga from the Federal Rural University of the Amazon Brazil for session 6
In Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future, Edgar Morin points to disjunction, false rationality, reductionism and closed specialization as essential problems that challenge our ability to generate pertinent knowledge in general. The standard theory of social dilemmas offers one of the most striking examples of how pertinent knowledge can be lost amid the rationalizations generated by disciplinary specialization. The latest developments in the study of social dilemmas devote an increasing amount of attention to cognition, belief systems, valuations, and language. However, the developments in this field operate almost entirely under epistemological assumptions that recognize only the instrumental form of rationality and deny that “value judgments” or “moral questions” have cognitive content. This standpoint erodes the moral feature of the choice situation and prevents the acknowledgment of the links connecting cognition, inner growth, and moral reasoning. It also deemphasizes the significance of these links to achieving cooperative solutions to many social dilemmas. Concurrently, this standpoint renders mysterious the role of communication and mutual understanding in promoting cooperation in those situations. The presentation brings the epistemological issue to the fore in order to introduce a proposal that enlarges the Institutional Analysis and Development framework by integrating moral cognitivism and Action Logic into it to describe orders of development as discrete meaning making stages. The presentation advances an empirical strategy to test the power of alternative models of human valuation to predict the mixed choices of the participants in social dilemmas experiments under similar institutional conditions, including different uses of communication.


Integrating Action Logics, with common pool resource principles, for a better understanding of human behaviour and sustainability change
by Simon Devecha from Adelaide University for session 6

This presentation unpacks constructive developmental theory (Action Logics), one of the most comprehensively validated and accepted theories of adult development, for it’s potential to bring clarity to social dilemmas. The Workshop, including Elinor Ostrom, has engaged in a major effort to identify conditions under which common pool resource problems are overcome and effective governance developed. A contemporary challenge is to best apply this knowledge to global resources. In attempting to do this we struggle with complex structures, motivational and cultural diversity. This issue may be particularly acute given (a degree of) common pool research weighting towards traditional or localised society case studies. Overlaying an Action Logics lens can bring context, relevance and applied focus. Action Logics describes stages of discrete meaning making. Orders of development unfold in a specific sequence and this determines how humans are likely to interpret any situation. For questions of sustainability, people are making sense of problems in identifiably different ways. Moreover, it is very likely that the diversity of such different meaning making is higher in today’s world than for localised resource users (such as close fishing communities or locally managed irrigation systems). Within a close community, the spread of different Action Logics can be lower than across today’s plural, global societies. Consequently, Action Logics are used to examine institutions that are successfully implementing sustainability – locally addressing contemporary challenges such as climate change. This illustrates insights Action Logics can bring to understanding complexity and how polycentric governance, of current environmental dilemmas, can evolve.
The spiraling waves of agency and communion: introducing and connecting Clare W. Graves' ECLET conception to the IAD framework
By  Christopher Cowan & Natasha Todorovic fom Spiral dynamics for session 6
In The Commons Dilemma Revisited, Leandro Meyer (2010) illustrates how intrinsic values and motivations matter in choice making and behavior in social dilemmas, how the same information conditions and incentive structure can lead to disparate choices regarding cooperation. Developmental psychologist Clare Graves’s research in adaptive coping led him to examine the mechanisms which animate social life coming from the interaction of two sets of forces: existential problems of living in a world and the neuronal coping capacities within an individual/collective mind/brain for dealing with them. He proposed an "emergent, cyclical, double-helix theory of adult biopsychosocial systems development," and that adaptive, congruent behavior results within a biopsychosocial systems field: the biological/neurological/organismic factors; the psychological/temperamental and sociological components of the person or group in context; and the interplay of these as systems elements in living!
  ecologies. The theory posits a swing in emphasis between self-oriented individualism and collective-oriented pluralism – from control within to control outside the self. This presentation introduces Graves’s point of view which includes a framework for the emergence (both predictive and retrodictive) of systems for conceptualizing problems in social dilemmas, plus a six-step process for change. We explain initial assumptions about intrinsic values and motivators while exploring the potential for knowledge synthesis so social scientists might map differences in valuing and motivation, thus make distinct predictions concerning cooperative and opportunistic choices in social dilemmas.
There are other groups to add to the list, from which we didn't get the abstracts.






>> This is a work in progress 🙂

Discussion (10)

  1. The list of the other working groups at WOW is attached. We are in discussion with gr. 6 on logics and perspectives, gr. 9 on practices and networking, and gr.28 & 44 on learning and building a knowledge base.

  2. We are looking to expand this working group! @actionforesight, @joe-corneli, @ellen-friedman could you make it there? It's scheduled June 18-21st, 2014 in Bloomington Indiana.

  3. Megan and I are planning to attend. I would love to join your working group. I eagerly look forward to connecting in person!

  4. That's wonderful, Ellen!

    Please go ahead and submit an abstract for a presentation for our session (or two abstracts if you and Megan want to do separate talks). Instructions for this are on the WOW website; the abstracts should be submitted by early December.

  5. Hi @ellen-friedman, that's great news! I had missed that one as I was on my way off to Jo'burg!

    Wolfgang, I'm not sure submitting an abstract is necessary for people who request joining our group directly. This gives us the lattitude to codesign our work sessions, so we are looking forward to your participation in this process and our conversation on Monday.

    There's a whole opportunity to interface with groups that gather information on practices and collective action and create documentation and knowledge systems, of interest to us as far as the Atlas and NORA are concerned, and how we can relate this to engagement and action logics that other groups are working on.

    So eager also to work on the session design and collaborative process even before we meet in person!


  6. I added in the doc the abstracts from our working group participants and the working groups we will be collaborating with.

    Wolfgang, I can't find the final version of your submission and more info on the working groups you have connected with 🙂

  7. @ellen-friedman looking forward to our collaboration here. Hope you are well 🙂

  8. Thanks for the note, Helene. I've been swamped with work and family. I'm helping my in-laws sell part of their fine art collection that includes a couple of Dali originals. I'm well and ready to reengage!


  9. Somewhat tardily, I've inserted the abstracts of my two presentations (one at our session #8, the other at Michael Schoon's session #44) in the document!


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