Land And Community: Property Rights And The Future Of Rural Landscapes

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This dissertation is comprised of four separate articles describing four separate studies, all of which deal with property rights and problems of collective action in land use. Each of the studies addresses the same central question: How can the problems associated with fragmenting a landscape into separate spheres of control be avoided while still maintaining a wide distribution of private rights? Two of the studies are about cooperation between private landowners, and two of them describe situations of shared ownership. The first, which was located in Vermont, uses a mail survey to answer the question of whether conservation on private land is impeded by problems of collective action. It also explores the question of whether the public planning process can be an effective means for citizens to overcome these problems. The second study deals with cooperation between private landowners in Norway. It describes how two seemingly contradictory imperatives-coordinating wildlife management across large areas, while keeping benefits and control in the hands of local resource users-are resolved through a nesting of management institutions; and it identifies some of the key factors, both structural and cultural, that contribute to the success of this system. The third study looks at land reform in Scotland, which, rather than breaking large estates into many small holdings, facilitates the transfer of land into community ownership. Using historical analysis and in-depth interviews with contemporary land reformers, this study explains why community ownership makes sense in rural Scotland today. The fourth study looks at the much older example of common property in Norway and offers those interested in Scottish land reform a glimpse at how well this type of ownership might meet their expectations. The study compares two similar Norwegian cases in order to understand whether community ownership makes a difference or whether it is sufficient for local users of the commons to have secure use-rights. A theme that emerges across all four of these studies is the significant and often unexpected role of the state.
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property; commons; Norway; Scotland
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Geisler, Charles C
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Clavel, Pierre
Gillespie Jr., Gilbert Wayne
Degree Discipline
Development Sociology
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Ph. D., Development Sociology
Degree Level
Doctor of Philosophy
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Government Document
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dissertation or thesis
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