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The Quest to Understand Human Affairs

Natural Resources Policy and Essays on Community and Collective Choice, Volume 1

Vincent Ostrom - Edited by Barbara Allen - Foreword by Elinor Ostrom

The Quest to Understand Human Affairs presents fifty previously unpublished essays by Vincent Ostrom on the U.S. Government's environmental problems and resource governance and span the six decades of Ostrom's career in political science and public administration. Including everything from a 1947 essay on Western (U.S) issues in national politics to ending with a 2004 manuscript on Constitutional foundations and federal institutional forms, these essays examine significant developments in administration, constitutional design, and the evolution of theory and practice in the field of institutional analysis and development during the second half of the twentieth century and first decade of the new millennium. Political theorist, Barbara Allen, has edited the work and provided extensive notes that provide context and identify key events and persons cited in the works. These remarkable works not only offer specialists insight into developments in the fields of institutional analysis, resource governance, policy and administration, but also speak to general readers about worldwide transformations in democracies and human and environmental relations as well as the enduring challenge of sustaining just, productive political orders. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 520Size: 6 x 9 1/4
978-0-7391-2609-7 • Hardback • December 2010 • $137.00 • (£90.00)
978-0-7391-2610-3 • Paperback • December 2010 • $53.99 • (£37.95)
Vincent Ostrom is the founding director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis and Arthur F. Bentley Professor Emeritus of political science at Indiana University in Bloomington. Barbara Allen is professor of political science at Carleton College.
1 Preface
2 Editor's Intorduction
3 Part I. Natural Resources Policy and the Practice of Collective and Constitutional Choice
4 1947: Some Western Issues in National Politics
5 1948: A Statement [of Resigniation from the University of Wyoming]
6 1955-1958: The Alaska Constitution and Natural Resources
7 The Constitution of the State of Alaska: Article VIII: Natural Resources
8 Clarifying the Meaning of Article VIII: Natural Resources, as Adopted by the Alaska Constitutional Convention, in 1956
9 Alaska Constitutional Convention: Commentary on Article on State Lands and Natural Resources
10 Selected Correspondence Regarding Article VIII
11 1956-1958: Resource Administration in Practice: Water Policies and Public Works
12 A Water Policy for Tennessee
13 Draft Interim Report No. 1 Snake River Study
14 1959: Natural Resources and Economic and Institutional Development in Hawaii
15 Proceedings of the Hawaii Pre-Legislative Conference, Panel on Land Use: Remarks of Vincent Ostrom on Problems of Public Policies Concerning Land Use
16 Organization for Administration of Natural Resources and Economic Development in the Territory of Hawaii: A Survey Report of the Public Administration Service
17 1960: Contributions to the Western States' Democratic Conference and the National Democratic Party 1960 Platform and Natural Resources
18 1968: Organization of Decision-Making Arrangements and the Development of Atmospheric Resources
19 1971: An Alternative Approach to the Design of Public Organizational Arrangements
20 Part II: Community and Collective Choice
21 1952-1954: Community Studies and Educational Policy: The Kellogg Foundation Northwest Cooperative Program in Educational Administration at the University of Oregon
22 A Study of Community Behavior in Policy formation with Special Reference to Education Policies
23 Kellogg Project: Research Memorandum on An Approach to the analysis of the Processes of Policy Formation
24 An Approach to the Study of Political Behavior in the Local Community
25 1957-1958: New Directions in Theory and Method: Studies of the Klamath Indians
26 An Additional Note on the Theoretical Orientation of My Current Research
27 A Case Study of Termination of Federal Trusteeship Responsibilities in the Klamath Reservation
28 Interim Reports on the Klamath [Indian Tribe] Termination [of Tribal Status Policy] Study
29 1978: Language, Reason, and Discourse: A Comment on Thomas Sowell's "Institutional Advantage and State Action Concepts"
30 1982: The Normative Context of Community
31 1982: Institutional Analysis, Policy Analysis, and Performance Evaluation
32 1999: The Centrality of Local Institutions in the Constintution of Democracies
33 Part III: From Collective Choice to Constitutional Choice
34 1975: Political Orders and Public Service Structures
35 1979: Public Bureaucracies: Challenges and Responses to New Problems and Public Organization
36 1982: Self-Administration and Bureaucratic Administration
37 1983: Adam Smith and Public Goods
38 1988: Executive Leadership, Authority Relationships, and Public Entrepreneurship
39 1988: The Foundations of Institutional Analysis and Development
Vincent Ostrom is one of the most original and powerful minds of our time. His quest to understand human affairs spans an unusually wide range of theoretical and practical concerns and draws creatively on a long tradition of classical thinkers. His unpublished papers in this volume, ably put together and edited by Barbara Allen, were written over the course of four decades but have lost none of their immediacy and authority. They convey strongly the commitment, tenacity and versatility of Ostrom in grappling with fundamental issues in the study of natural resources policy, community and collective and constitutional choice and, more generally, in the practice of research. The volume also conveys Allen's own contribution in making Ostrom's experiences and reflections available to those who wish to better understand the critical questions of our time. The result is a significant and lasting contribution to social and human sciences.
Filippo Sabetti, McGill University

This collection of original and previously unpublished papers is of both of historical and contemporary value. Vincent Ostrom has long become one of the pioneers, founders, and leading scholars in institutional analysis, governance theory, public administration and human natural resource management. The book is an ode to original and independent scholarship. It provides documentation of a branch of contemporary, interdisciplinary science in the making. The perspective and inspirational value provided by the set of policy briefs and scholarly papers is supported by the annotation and strong organization of the book by Barbara Allen as knowledgeable, able and keenly devoted editor.
Theo Toonen, Delft University of Technology

Well-intentioned policies can destroy the very resource they are designed to protect when they are inappropriate in scale or context. Like Madison and Tocqueville before him, Vincent Ostrom's writings emerge from a dialogue between practice and reflection, resulting in a bottom-up, polycentric approach to institutional design that avoids the failures of top-down hierarchical models. Each essay is absorbing; through this collection, with thoughtful editorial introductions, Vincent Ostrom's teachings illuminate and inspire.
Craig W. Hurst, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin Waukesha