Private Goods And Common Property: Pottery Production In A Honduran Lenca Community


Catherine M. Tucker, 2010


Most research on common property focuses on common-pool goods, which are characterized by difficulty of exclusion and vulnerability to depletion (subtractability). Few studies have addressed common property arrangements for "private goods," which are subtractable but characterized by ease of exclusion. In order for a private good to be managed successfully as common property, institutions must exist to guarantee the access of eligible appropriators despite its ease of exclusion and susceptibility to individual monopolization. Drawing on research in an indigenous Lenca community in western Honduras, this case study explores the communal management of scarce, spatially concentrated claybeds, sand deposits, and outcroppings of colored soils. All of these goods are necessary for artisanal pottery production, which is regarded as a cultural patrimony by the community. The study shows that socioeconomic, institutional, and spiritual dimensions interact to maintain communal management of these "private goods." The importance of pottery production to the local culture and economy facilitates and reinforces common property institutions associated with these goods. The evidence indicates that when rare or scarce "private goods" are integral to a people's livelihoods and culture, common property arrangements can be an effective approach to management.

Human Organization External link; 69(1): 43 - 53

Map of La Campa, Honduras


Tags: Honduras  Lenca  pottery  property  

Distributed by Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources External link (IPIR). IPIR aggregates, indexes, and distributes content on behalf of hundreds of indigenous nations, organizations, and media outlets. Articles, commentaries, and book reviews that do not identify a source are produced or commissioned by IPIR.

Please help support IPIR. Without your support, we cannot continue to provide articles, videos, news, resources, and more on indigenous peoples issues from around the world. IPIR is the largest distributor of news on indigenous issues, and we host one of the largest databases on indigenous issues in the world. Please help support IPIR - any contribution helps, no matter how small.
Find us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Grab our RSS Feed
Find us on Google Plus