Skip main navigation

Being a Citizen in a Self-Governing Society

What did Elinor and Vincent Ostrom mean by citizenship? Professor Mark Pennington explains in this video.

As we come to the end of our course, let’s reflect on what we have learned.

We began in week 1 by exploring collective action dilemmas that we often face when we have a common stake in a resource. While markets and states are often seen as the only possible providers of solutions to these problems, Elinor Ostrom’s work revealed an array of alternative institutional responses that we can classify as self-governing arrangements.

In week 2, we considered how these arrangements function, outlining the processes of public entrepreneurship, co-production and polycentricity. We explored how these mechanisms work in cases as diverse as guerrilla gardening associations, the Covid-19 pandemic, crime prevention, public housing, and more.

In week 3, we considered the ethical implications of these governance arrangements, examining how they affect human autonomy, inequality and discrimination. We highlighted the advantages and limitations of self-governance in addressing critical public policy problems.

As we begin to piece together the self-governance paradigm, we can reflect on the lessons it teaches us about citizenship in a democratic society. In this final video, we will make some concluding remarks about the wider implications of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom’s work.

This article is from the free online

The Ideal of Self-Governance: Public Policy Beyond Markets and States

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now