Pre-conference Workshops

Analytical Frameworks as Learning Heuristics in Common Pool Resource Research

Common Pool Resource research extensively relies on the use analytical frameworks for organizing its research endeavours. One principal reason surely is the inherently comparative nature of Common Pool Resource research and the immense complexity and diversity in which their use is set. In such a context frameworks provide analytical languages in which scholars communicate about their findings; they provide orientation concerning aspects relevant for understanding situations of use of Common Pool Resources; they provide the basis for generalizations and entry points to associate Common Pool Resource research with different sets of explanatory theories. Finally, the comparative dimension they imply aims to allow for generalisable conclusions, which feed into recommendations for institutional design.

Common Pool Resource research is applied to resources which, depending on the scale of analysis, are categorized as rival and non-excludable. At the same time it depends on the perspective we adopt, that of provision or consumption of the resource, and the scale of analysis, and how we classify them. Thus, even what exactly Common Pool Resources are can be subject to dispute at times. Often, the “social construction” of a resource itself as either a Common Pool Resource, as a Toll or as a Public Good is an important practice that itself merits analysis for understanding the way Common Pool Resources are used (e.g. biodiversity or the provision of an environment free from GMOs). Starting with this observation, it becomes even more difficult to pin down and agree upon the principal dynamics and factors that determine the way we use Common Pool Resources and the scale from which they operate. The same applies to the influence of the conceptualisation of actors, governance structures, institutions, property rights and regimes and the unit of analysis. Decisions on each of these aspects depend on ontological and epistemological assumptions which shape research design, findings and their conceptualisation.

Against the background of these observations the proposed pre-conference workshop aims to sensitize analysts to the way we use concepts and, specifically, analytical frameworks in research on Common Pool Resources. Among other things, the workshop aims to look at the implicit decisions we take when opting for one analytical framework or another. Keynote presentations will highlight different ontological, epistemological, and methodological assumptions demonstrating the richness of institutional analysis. This will provide participants with a broad overview of the different frameworks for institutional analysis and their implications for institutional design. The workshop directs itself at scholars at all stages of their career, however, it is expected that advanced Ph.D. students and early and advanced stage post-docs, which are actively engaged in research on Common Pool Resources, will find it of specific interest. Pre-condition for admission should be an active contribution by participants to the workshop in the form of a reflection on their own use of frameworks. Number of participants is limited to 20. 

The workshop will last one day and comprises of four sessions, each of 90 minutes, with 30 minutes break between sessions, 60 minutes for lunch and 45 minutes for conclusions. Each of the four sessions consists of 35-40 minutes presentation by the convenors, which will be followed by several prepared reflective presentations of up to 5 minutes by participants, followed by open discussion. The day will be opened by 15 minutes introduction and concluded by 45 minutes concluding discussion.

Topics and Convenors for sessions are the following:

I. Frameworks as ontologies (Konrad Hagedorn)
In this session it will be reflected upon the way different established analytical frameworks have been constructed. Several analytical frameworks and associated research programmes, cases of application and results will be presented. A question will be on the way the genesis of an ontology shapes explanation and theorization.

Participants’ reflective presentations are to address frameworks used in specific pieces of research and the underlying reasons.

II. Frameworks and their epistemological implications: On history, habits, and scale (Jes Weigelt)
This session will discuss frameworks’ epistemological implications, that is their implications for how we come to know what we assume to know. Session will focus on – but not be limited to – the implications in terms of analyses of history, assumptions on agential behaviour, and the question of scale of analysis. The session will also discuss to what degree these implications are logical consequences of these frameworks. Alternatively, it will explore to what extent analytical perspectives associated with certain frameworks are the result of other epistemological processes commonly discussed under the umbrella of the sociology of knowledge.

Participants are asked to please reflect on the epistemological implications of their research and the frameworks they used.

III. Frameworks and methodology (Markus Hanisch)
This session will cover the question of how frameworks can be used in comparative research and how we can come to generalisable results, respectively under what conditions data collected using the same framework allows for generalisation. Specifically, the session will discuss grounded theory and Qualitative Comparative Analysis as two approaches to analyse large amounts of qualitative data.

Participants’ reflective presentations are to discuss methods used in comparative common pool resource research and to what extent generalisations were reached.

IV. Frameworks, agency and institutional design (Andreas Thiel)
This session highlights, that different frameworks allow for different conceptualisations of agents as many construct frameworks as theory-open. Conceptualisations of agents, however, are important to consider in contextualising recommendations derived from common pool resource research. Thus, they matter in defining the scope and possibility of institutional design. The session aims to highlight this link and draw conclusions about the potential and limitations of coming to institutional design on the basis of the use of analytical frameworks.

Participants’ reflective presentations are to consider the way recommendations for institutional design were derived from specific pieces of research and their scope of validity.

Workshop Leader/s: Andreas Thiel, Konrad Hagedorn, Jes Weigelt, Markus Hanisch, Andreas Thiel

Supporting Organization/s: Division of Resource Economics and Division of Cooperative Sciences Humboldt - Universität zu Berlin, Germany