Bloomington Labor Studies Brown Bag Lunch Series, fall 2013


The Commons: Perspectives from Europe

Traditional and Modern Commons Institutions: Switzerland and Germany

Christine Glaser received an M.A. in Economics from Mainz University in Germany and a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from Munich University. In her research at IU’s Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, she analyzed common property institutions in the Swiss Alps. After teaching many courses on economics and environment, she is a partner in GreenFire Consulting Group, LLC.

Her presentation touches on the history of one of the few remaining traditional, land based common property institutions in Europe, the high mountain grazing lands in the Swiss Alps, and their adaptation to the present day economic environment. Turning to Germany, she will identify traces and imprints left by the traditional commons that shape the landscape today, and highlight a few modern, newly created common property institutions that reflect the spirit of cooperation and sharing inherent in the idea of the traditional, land-based commons.

The Right of Public Access - New Challenges and New Opportunities

Per Nordahl received a PhD in History from Umeå University, where he was later a visiting assistant professor.  He has directed several research projects related to international migration networks and was Director of the Swedish Emigrant Institute in Växjö, Sweden, 2002-6. He is a Visiting Lecturer at IU in Geography, International Studies and West European Studies.

The right to public access is one of those customary rights that has been around for centuries but was not codified until the early 20th century.  Recently private companies have imported immigrant labor to take advantage of the right to pick berries and mushrooms, spurring a public debate problematizing the concept of the commons, including the right to public access.  Nordahl will discuss the historical development of the commons in Sweden and how the current discourse has evolved, including how Swedish society relates to the right to access and extraction of natural resources.   

When:  Wednesday, Dec. 4, 4:00 - 5:15 pm

Where: Indiana Memorial Union, Redbud Room

For information / visitor parking permits, call 812-855-9084. Labor Studies’ new location is

1900 East 10th Street, Eigenmann 1029, Bloomington, IN  47406.  

Co-sponsored by the Community Commons Colloquium Series and the Institute for European Studies, IU