Considerations on Governing Heritage as a Commons Resource

Part of the One World Archaeology book series (WORLDARCH)


The “commons” is gaining attention as a possible alternative model for managing tangible and intangible heritage in a manner that devolves authority and responsibility to local communities through mechanisms that are democratic and privilege local over national or global interests. This chapter reviews the literature on the commons within archaeology and heritage management, evaluates theorizing on the commons in the context of heritage, and explores, through literature review and case studies from Belize and Peru, the challenges and opportunities that arise should archaeologists and heritage managers seek to adopt the commons as a guiding principle for community projects. The chapter emphasizes that the problem of governance—the rules under which the competing interests of stakeholders in a venture manage their activities and resolve their differences—is an underappreciated but critical ingredient in the design of effective commons-like models for heritage management.


Commons Common pool resource Heritage Governance Community economic development Cultural heritage management 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and AnthropologyPhiladelphiaUSA

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