Beyond Design Principles: Subjectivity, Emotion, and the (Ir)Rational Commons

Andrea J. Nightingale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Common property debates are dominated by approaches that seek to demonstrate how cooperation is "rational"; by working together under appropriate institutions, the commons becomes a viable management strategy. This article seeks to expand the commons debate by arguing that more attention is needed on the emotional and "ir-rational" reasons people cooperate. Drawing from feminist theory, subjectivity, and power, I explore how subjectivity is bound up in kinship and community obligations, such that people draw from alternative rationalities to develop informal modes of cooperation. These affective relations are important for people's willingness (or not) to cooperate in more organized contexts, demonstrating the importance of thinking about gender, community, and space as productive of subjectivity, rather than roles or structures in order to understand how particular forms of cooperation emerge. The result is a new understanding of cooperation that incorporates new feminist research on emotion and subjectivity with institutional studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-132
Number of pages14
JournalSociety & Natural Resources
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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