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Phyllis Kaniss
American Academy of Political and Social Science

Last modified: Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Elinor Ostrom inducted to American Academy of Political and Social Science

June 11, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Elinor Ostrom, the Arthur F. Bentley professor of political science and professor of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University, has been installed as Robert A. Dahl Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Ostrom, the co-founder of the Workshop on Political Theory and Policy Analysis at IU Bloomington, was one of six fellows in the AAPSS Class of 2008 installed at a ceremony at the University of Pennsylvania on May 8.

Douglas S. Massey, president of the AAPSS and professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University, said of the Academy's new Fellows, "We are honoring individuals who have not only accomplished impressive intellectual breakthroughs -- but who have done so with their eyes firmly focused on advancing the public good."

Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom

Ostrom is honored for her groundbreaking work on natural resource governance in which she has countered the conventional wisdom that the best arrangement for managing common-pool resources is either privatization or government control. Her research has shown that principles such as maintaining clearly defined boundaries and collective efforts to monitor inappropriate behavior could result in successful management of common-pool resources, such as watersheds, irrigation systems and fishing grounds.

"Our problem is how to craft rules at multiple levels that enable humans to adapt and learn and change over time so that we are sustaining the very valuable resources that we inherited, and that we may be able to pass them on," Ostrom noted in her acceptance remarks. "I think we should all reinstate in our mind the seven-generation rule, that when we are making really major decisions we should be asking not only what will it do for me today, but what will it do for my children, my children's children, the children's children of my colleagues, into the future."

To read Ostrom's remarks or listen to podcasts from the 2008 Fellows Installation, visit the Academy Blog:

The American Academy of Political and Social Science was founded in Philadelphia in 1889 with the objective of promoting the progress of the social sciences and using social science knowledge in the development of public policy. The Academy's bimonthly journal, The Annals, has featured contributions of such notables as Eleanor Roosevelt, W.E.B. Du Bois, Harold Lasswell, Margaret Mead and Mahatma Gandhi.