Problems of Archaeology, Ethnography, Anthropology of
Siberia and Neighboring Territories

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2020 Volume XXVI

DOI: 10.17746/2658-6193.2020.26.764-769

УДК 504.3

Resource Conflicts Through the Lens of Anthropological Theories: "Resource Curse" and "the Tragedy of the Commons"

Lyubimova G.V.

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The article discusses the most popular concepts in the anthropological literature, which are applied to describing resource conflicts (“resource curse” and “the tragedy of the commons”). Resource conflict is defined as a controversy concerning the use of natural resources, which arises in the course of ecological adaptation of ethnic and social communities to constantly changing environmental conditions. Variable nature of resource conflicts at different stages of ethnic history is shown. Based on archival, field, and published data, the applications of these concepts for analyzing ethnic and ecological history ofvarious groups of rural population living in Southern Siberia are assessed. The phenomenon of “the tragedy of the commons,” first described by G. Hardin, is analyzed using land management documents created during the implementation of the Stolypin agrarian reform. The thesis on the inevitable exhaustion of the resource base in collective unregulated access of resource users to community resources is illustrated using the example of land disputes of Siberian peasants in the early 20th century regarding “meadows,” “arable lands,” “rivers,” and other farmlands. The opportunities which make it possible to avoid “the tragedy of the commons” are described using the evidence from the records of local communities abandoning annual redistribution of grasslands and imposing fines for felling trees in the immediate vicinity of the villages. The results of the analysis are compared with the situations which are explained using the model of “resource curse.” It is concluded that the ways of resolving resource conflicts (despite the differences in subjects and parties of the dispute) in both cases are associated with increasing the role of local communities.


ethnic and ecological adaptation, resource conflicts, anthropological theories, resource curse, tragedy of the commons, rural population of Southern Siberia

Chief Editor
Academician A.P. Derevyanko

Deputy Chief Editor
Academician V.I. Molodin

17, Аkademika Lavrentieva prosp., Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

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