The Development of the Commons in Switzerland

The book focuses on the differences and similarities between local institutions (rules and regulations) and forms of commoners’ organisations (corporations of citizens and corporations) which have managed common property for several centuries and have shaped the cultural landscapes of Switzerland.

At the book’s core are five case studies from Switzerland’s German, French and Italian-speaking regions. Beginning in the Late Middle Ages and focusing on the transformative periods in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it traces the internal and external political, economic and societal changes.

The volume highlights how institutional changes in the management of the commons at the local level are embedded in the respective cantons and the state’s public policies, generating a high heterogeneity and an actual laboratory situation.

It shows the power relations and very different routes that local collective organisations and their members have followed to cope with the loss of value of the commons and the increased workload for maintaining joint property management.

Providing insightful case studies of commons management, this volume delivers theoretical contributions and lessons to be learned for the commons worldwide.

Edited By Tobias Haller, Karina Liechtli, Martin Stuber,Franois-Xavier Viallon, Rahel Wunderli (Editors), Balancing the Commons in Switzerland. Institutional Transformations and Sustainable Innovations (Routledge, 2021).