Community-based enterprises and the commons: The case of San Juan Nuevo Parangaricutiro, Mexico

We found that by starting from the community-based and indigenous enterprise literature and using that literature to engage with thinking on commons, it was possible to consider the enterprise from the perspective of a regulatory framework rather than from the poles of dependency and modernization theories in which much commons work has been based. We also found that there were a number of necessary conditions for commons-based community-enterprises to retain internal and external legitimacy, namely: (1) leadership representative of the broad social mission rooted in the customary institutions, values and norms of the community; (2) accountability of enterprise leaders to the memberships they represent; and (3) a close adherence to the political goals of the community as a whole.

Our goal was to utilize this framework to analyze the San Juan Forest Enterprise and understand its emergence and formation as a long-standing community-based enterprise that intersects with a commons, and thereby identify factors that increase chances of success for community enterprises. We draw upon the transcripts of 40 interviews undertaken during 2006 which are analyzed using a framework developed from the social, community-based and indigenous enterprise literature. Commons scholarship has tended to focus on the administration and use of commons. In this paper, we consider Nuevo San Juan, a Mexican case that is well known in the community forestry and commons literature…

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Community-based enterprises and the commons: the case of San Juan Nuevo Parangaricutiro, Mexico

International Journal of the Commons