Rationality and Solidarities: The Social Organization of Common Property Resources in the Imdrhas Valley of Morocco

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Dominant theories of common property resource systems (CPRs) draw principally from the rational choice tradition. While this perspective has contributed to our understanding of common property issues, there are still missing features. The one we believe can both contextualize rationality and CPRs within the larger social system is recognition of the social dynamism between solidarities based on interests and solidarities based on sentiments. We argue that collective action is an interactive process where both interests and sentiments mutually constitute and reconstitute each other through a dialogue of solidarities. Using this approach, we examine two Imazighen communities in southern Morocco and the social organization of their CPRs. While both communities have the same established rules for managing their CPRs, there are distinct differences in what occurs on them. These differences are due to more than individual actors' private calculations of personal gain. They can be equally attributed to the character of social ties in each community as a whole—ties of interests and sentiments seemingly far removed from the particular CPR. We present the dialogue of solidarities as an important point of analytic entry into the dynamics of CPRs.

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