Indiana University Bloomington

'Workshop on the Ostrom Workshop' to celebrate, carry on the work of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom

  • June 12, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Students and colleagues of the late Indiana University professors Elinor and Vincent Ostrom will be in Bloomington next week to carry on their legacy of original and ambitious research aimed at creating a better understanding of social institutions.

The fifth Workshop on the Ostrom Workshop -- WOW5 for short -- will take place June 18 to 21 at the Indiana Memorial Union. Held every five years, the conference enables students, researchers and alumni from the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis to reconnect for presentations and discussions of their work and areas of common interest.

More than 240 people, a record number, plan to attend this year's Workshop on the Workshop, the first to take place since Elinor and Vincent Ostrom died in June 2012. Registration is closed.

“It is a bittersweet occasion," said Dan Cole, chair of the Ostrom Workshop Advisory Council and an IU professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Maurer School of Law. "No doubt there will be a lot of reminiscing and reflecting on the past. But the expected record turnout for WOW5 is also an indication of just how vibrant the Workshop remains.

"The conference agenda itself looks to both the future and the past," Cole said, "with several panels honoring the Ostroms’ many achievements and continuing their work, and others breaking new ground in applying ‘Bloomington School’ frameworks and analytical methods to the study of religious texts, health informatics, industrial organization and markets.”

Vincent Ostrom and Elinor Ostrom, longtime IU faculty members, co-founded the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis in 1973 and served as its co-directors for decades. The Workshop built an international reputation, bringing together scholars and researchers to investigate how human behavior is shaped by institutions and how public policies affect people's lives.

Elinor "Lin" Ostrom was a co-recipient of the 2009 Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, generally known as the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Vincent Ostrom was a world-renowned expert on democratic governance whose career ranged from consulting with local and state governments to conducting important practical and theoretical work on political economy.

WOW5 presentations and panels will span the diverse topics and themes that filled the Ostroms' decades of research and writing, such as polycentric governance, collective action, federalism and the management of common-pool resources, including natural resources, health care and information. Several focus on the social-ecological system framework developed by Elinor Ostrom.

A complete agenda of presentations, roundtables and panel discussions is available online.

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Elinor and Vincent Ostrom

Elinor and Vincent Ostrom

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Steve Hinnefeld