Living Better Together

Social Relations and Economic Governance in the Work of Ostrom and Zelizer

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Published by Palgrave Macmillan in Mercatus Studies in Political and Social Economy

Elinor C. Ostrom, a Nobel prize-winning political economist, made important contributions to common pool resources, economic governance, and polycentricity. Viviana A. Zelizer, a prominent economic sociologist, has done groundbreaking work on how culture shapes our economic lives. Together, the work of Ostrom and Zelizer spans the disciplines of economics, sociology, political science, and public policy by exploring the social relations and community-based organization of everyday life. Both scholars examine the norms, social connections, and cultural impacts of exchange and governance. This volume explores their contributions and builds off of their research programs to explore social movements, community recovery, war, and women’s issues across a variety of disciplines, including economics, political science, sociology, history, and archaeology.

Inspired by Zelizer’s 2019 Ostrom Speaker Series lecture for the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, this volume explores the connections between the work of Elinor Ostrom and Viviana Zelizer. Beginning with a lead chapter by Zelizer where she reflects on the connections between her work and Ostrom’s oeuvre, the volume brings together scholars who tease out some of the important concepts and implications of Ostrom and Zelizer’s research. This volume furthers economic inquiry by ensuring that the critical examinations of these timely and important themes are made available to students and scholars.



Chapter 1: Introduction: Connecting Elinor C. Ostrom and Viviana A. Zelizer
Stefanie Haeffele and Virgil Henry Storr

Chapter 2: Why and How Do Social Relations Matter for Economic Lives?
Viviana A. Zelizer

Chapter 3: What Relational Work Brings to the Study of the Political Economy
Victoria Reyes

Chapter 4: “Circuits of Commons”: Exploring the Connections Between Economic Lives and the Commons
Carolina Dalla Chiesa, Valeria Morea, and Francesca Sabatini

Chapter 5: Testing Circuits of Commerce in the Distant Past: Archaeological Understandings of Social Relationships and Economic Lives
Crystal A. Dozier

Chapter 6: Bringing the Family Back In: Political Economy and the Family in Liberal Theory
Brianne Wolf

Chapter 7: Polycentric Institutions of Intimacy
Jayme S. Lemke

Chapter 8: Beyond Relief: Understanding the Cuban Diaspora’s Remittance-Sending Behavior
Anne Hobson and Stefanie Haeffele

Chapter 9: The Economic Circuits of Social Movements
V. Miranda Chase

Chapter 10: Captains’ Mail Circuits: Examining Social Relations in Letter Transfer, 1700–1774
Hannah Knox Tucker

Chapter 11: Institutional Diversity in Social Coordination Post-disaster
Laura E. Grube

Chapter 12: Wartime Governance in the Syrian Civil War
Jennifer L. Hudson

Chapter 13: The Institutional Diversity of Online E-commerce Platforms in China
Minjun Yuan and Wanlin Lin