Scientific Publication

Feminist Political Ecologies of the Commons and Commoning


It has been almost a decade since Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009 and transformed in no small measure, environmental governance studies. On the one hand, her alternative ideas on polycentric governance, collective action and commons management created legitimate space and authority for grassroots structures to self-govern the commons. Less visibly, her work also enabled a storming into masculine spaces of political science and economics (Wall 2014). Viewed through a feminist perspective, these acts were both profoundly political. And yet, although her work ‘challenged many extreme neoliberal concerns by emphasizing cooperative behaviour and the possibility for solutions not involving private property’ (Forsyth and Johnson 2014, 1106)—it did not [re]politicize the field of new institutional economics, i.e. allow a critical analysis of how power operates in commons management (Łapniewska 2016). This special issue offers a set of papers that defend the pertinence and value of integrating power and power relationships in the analysis of the commons, from a feminist perspective.