Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 October 2021
This chapter challenges a key precondition for many sustaining commons institutions - tight-knit communities. It argues that the gradual transformation of traditional nomadic societies into modern urban societies reflects a major change that has weakened the ability of kinship relations to serve as a social incentive to support sustainable common property regimes resulting in the fostering of a modern urban tragedy of the commons.
The chapter illuminates this argument by analyzing theories of social evolution and examining closely the urbanization processes undergone by Bedouin society in Israel, in which tight kinship relations traditionally supported sustainable management of the commons. The urbanization of Bedouin society challenged this traditional regime and triggered the evolution of private urban-style property units, on the one hand, and modern tragedies of the commons, on the other.
The chapter raises the question whether societies in which kinship ties have become less powerful can still produce strong enough incentives for collaboration.