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Commoning the seeds: alternative models of collective action and open innovation within French peasant seed groups for recreating local knowledge commons

Abstract : In this article, we expand the analytical and theoretical foundations of the study of knowledge commons in the context of more classical agrarian commons, such as seed commons. We show that it is possible to overcome a number of criticisms of earlier work by Ostrom (Governing the commons. The evolution of institutions for collective action, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1990) on natural commons and its excludability/rivalry matrix in addressing the inclusive social practices of "commoning", defined as a way of living and acting for the preservation of the commons. Our empirical analysis emphasizes , using the most recent advances in the IAD/SES framework, the distributed and collaborative knowledge governance in a French peasant seed network as a key driver for reintroducing cultivated agrobiodiversity and on-farm seed conservation of ancient and landrace varieties. These inclusive peasant seed groups developed alternative peer-to-peer models of collabora-tive peasant-led community-based breeding and grassroots innovations in the search for more resilient population varieties. Our results highlight the various models of collective action within the network and discuss the organizational tradeoffs of opting out of peasant seed activities and recreating a shared collective knowledge base on the benefits of restoring cultivated agrobiodiversity. It helps us better understand how modern peasant seed groups function as epistemic communities which contributes to envisioning alternative agricultural systems.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-02979790
Contributor : Armelle Mazé <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 11:51:09 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 3:57:49 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 6:44:18 PM

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Armelle Mazé, Aida Calabuig Domenech, Isabelle Goldringer. Commoning the seeds: alternative models of collective action and open innovation within French peasant seed groups for recreating local knowledge commons. Agriculture and Human Values, Springer Verlag, 2020, ⟨10.1007/s10460-020-10172-z⟩. ⟨hal-02979790⟩

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