Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 October 2021
Innovations in commons research and extensions of the commons framework have moved far beyond the archetypal village grazing pasture. The dynamism of the field may therefore prompt some reflection on what “commons theory” or “the commons framework” means in non-territorially bounded commons. Fortunately, the origins of Elinor Ostrom’s framework are compatible with such innovations and extensions; indeed, reexamining the line of inquiry that gave rise to the Ostrom framework may benefit those working now on the field’s research frontiers. A political scientist, Ostrom was principally concerned throughout her career – and acutely in the period leading to Governing the Commons – with how people manage (and sometimes fail) to organize the governance of anything by creating and modifying institutional arrangements for coordinating their behavior and pursuing shared goals. In this chapter, those original questions that animated Ostrom’s work are reconsidered for the insights they can provide for current innovations in commons research.