Sunday, November 1, 2009

I have a Nobel Prize winner as a colleague

A few weeks, Elinor (“Lin”) Ostrom won the Nobel Prize in Economics. Science magazine had a short article about this, but it failed to mention that she has an appointment as Research Professor at Arizona State University. In fact, her appointment is in my program (the School of Human Evolution & Social Change); she is my departmental colleague. Wow, who would have thought that an anthropology program would be the home of a Nobel Prize winner.

I guess I understand why Science only mentioned her affiliation with Indiana University. That is her primary academic affiliation, and she has been at IU her whole career. But in 2006 Lin Ostrom was given a part-time appointment at ASU, in our unit. She founded the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity (CSID), which is the home for faculty from various disciplines (including anthropology) who do very interesting research on common-pool resources, collective action, cooperation, resilience, urbanism, and other topics. They use a diversity of methods, from ethnography to economic games to agent-based modeling (see bibliography below).

The research of Lin Ostrom and the people in CSID is interesting and important, although archaeologists are only starting to explore this realm. In fact, some of these scholars are now working with archaeological data, and it’s high time that the rest of us get moving on some of these topics. Here are a small number of their recent publications.

Elinor Ostrom:

Liu, Jianguo, Thomas Dietz, Stephen R. Carpenter, Carl Folke, Marina Alberti, Charles L. Redman, Stephen H. Schneider, Elinor Ostrom, Alice N. Pell, Jane Lubchenco, William W. Taylor, Zhiyun Ouyang, Peter Deadman, Timothy Kratz and William Provencher (2007) Coupled Human and Natural Systems. Ambio 36:639-649.

Ostrom, Elinor (2007) Collective Action Theory. In Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics, edited by Charles Boix and Susan C. Stokes, pp. 186-208. Oxford University Press, New York.

Ostrom, Elinor (2009) A General Framework for Analyzing Sustainability of Social-Ecological Systems. Science 325:419-422.

Ostrom, Elinor (2009) What is Social Capital? In Social Capital: Reaching Out, Reaching In, edited by Viva Bartkus and James Davis, pp. 17-38. Edward Elgar, Northampton, MA.

CSDI Faculty:

Anderies, John M. (2006) Robustness, Institutions, and Large-Scale Change in Social-Ecological Systems: The Hohokam of the Phoenix Basin. Journal of Institutional Economics 2:133-155.

Anderies, John M., Marco A. Janssen and Elinor Ostrom (2004) A Framework to Analyze the Robustness of Socio-Ecological Systems from an Institutional Perspective. Ecology and Society 9(1):article 18 (online).

Janssen, Marco A., John M. Anderies and Elinor Ostrom (2007) Robustness of Social-Ecological Systems of Spatial and Temporal Variability. Society and Natural Resources 20:307-322.

Janssen, Marco A., Timothy A. Kohler and Marten Scheffer (2003) Sunk-Cost Effects and Vulnerability to Collapse in Ancient Societies. Current Anthropology 44:722-728.

Janssen, Marco A. and Marten Scheffer (2004) Overexploitation of Renewable Resources by Ancient Societies, and the Role of Sunk-Cost Effects. Ecology and Society 9(1):article 6 (online).

Munroe, Darla K., Cynthia Croissant and Abigail York (2005) Land Use Policy and Landscape Fragmentation in an Urbanizing Region: Assessing the Impact of zoning. Applied Geography 25:121-141.

Ostrom, Elinor, Marco A. Janssen and John M. Anderies (2007) Going Beyond Panaceas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104:15176-15178.

Wutich, Amber and Kethleen Ragsdale (2008) Water Insecurity and Emotional Distress: Coping with Supply, Access, and Seasonal Variabilitiy of Water in a Bolivian Squatter Settlement. Social Science and Medicine 67:2116-2125.

Young, Oran R., Frans Berkhout, Gilberto C. Gallopin, Marco A. Janssen, Elinor Ostrom and Sander van der Leeuw (2006) The Globalization of Socio-Ecological Systems: An Agenda for Scientific Research. Global Environmental Change 16:304-316.

If these papers are not familiar to you, I suggest looking at some of them.


Jason Baird Jackson said...

Curiously, her office is right across the alley from mine on the fringe of the IU campus. More substantively, her research work on commons has direct relevance for efforts refashioning more open scholarly communications systems. As one particular, her research group is behind an important subject area repository, the Digital Library of the Commons.

ArchAsa said...

Score! Now why not do the logical thing and replace the Economic Prize with an Anthropological/Archaeologal one? I'll mention it to the trustees when I run into them here in Stockholm the next time (fat chance...)

Michael E. Smith said...

Years ago, a newspaper story about the Nobel Prizes listed a bunch of disciplines that were important but not recognized by the Nobel program. Archaeology was in the list. I clipped out the article and it was on my office door for years.