Rural History 2015

Panel 28

Organizers: Lana, José-Miguel (1); Bulgarelli, Alessandra (2)

Affiliation: 1: Public University of Navarre, Spain; 2: University of Naples Federico II, Italy

Title: Accountable commons. Rural communities and accounting records in historical perspective

"Since 1968, the debate on the sustainability of natural resources and the logic of collective action has accumulated a large body of literature. Some authors have identified several conditions that shared those cases of successful management of the commons. One condition is defined as: “accountability of monitors and other officials to users”, which goes beyond financial aspects. But it cannot be doubted that accountancy is an important field of interest when we are dealing with accountability.
The proposed panel aims to show the possibilities offered by accounting records all over Europe to better understanding of the dynamics of rural communities. We hope to attract papers which are theoretically founded and empirically consistent, within which accountancy systems are explored in order to offer an interpretation on their role in the reproduction and change of rural societies.
The questions to be explored include, for instance: Which was the nature of the organisation that managed the commons and produced the records? How complex were the accountancy systems and what kind of items were included? Did motivation of accountancy emerge endogenously or was it imposed by external powers? How many and what scales of control were there? Which were the procedures for auditing? Were they only supervised by the assembly of members or also by stewards, manorial and royal courts? Who were the officers in charge? How did communities deal with moral hazard and adverse selection problems? Which were the roles played by notaries and rural elites in the functioning of the accounting systems? Did women participate in its production and control? Did the accounting systems remain the same or were there shifts linked to specific social contexts or struggles? Do accountancy systems help to reinforce peasant communities, allowing them to ensure their freedom from feudal lords, or reinforce their dependence and subordination to external powers?"



Chair: José-Miguel Lana, Public University of Navarre, Spain

Paper 1: Men and animals in the ‘denunce’ of commons in Friuli at the beginning of the 17th century [+]

Stefano Barbacetto, Bolzano/Bozen, Italy; Claudio Lorenzini, University of Udine, Italy

Paper 2: The accountancy system of the commons in the Republic of Venice between the 16th and 17th centuries

Giulio Ongaro, University of Verona, Italy

Paper 3: Towards a modern accounting system. State-owned assets in the municipal budgets of "Materano" in the first half of the 19th century.

Mariarosaria Rescigno, ISSM / CNR, Italy

Paper 4: Commons Dynamics in the Accounting Records. Rural communities in southern Italy in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries

Alessandra Bulgarelli, University of Naples "Federico II", Italy

Paper 5: Counting on the Commons. Feudal tributes, credit markets and communal incomes in a Basque valley (17th-19th centuries).

José-Miguel Lana, Public University of Navarre, Spain


Suggested deadline for sending completed papers 31 july 2015

© 2014 Rural History 2015