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Calls for cross-scalar theoretical and methodological approaches are not new to commons scholarship. Such efforts might be hastened by channelling poststructuralist and critical theory perspectives through the geographic subfield of political ecology, including attention to political scales and subjects. Toward this end, this paper reconsiders Maine’s lobster fishery. This case has provided rich material for watershed commons scholarship, demonstrating the ability of social groups to conserve resources independent of government or markets, and it continues to offer new findings. Recent fieldwork shows that as lobster boat captains advance collective interests through state-supported co-management governance arrangements, concerns of crew and non-fishing community members may be marginalized. Regulatory exclusion prevents broader distribution of resource benefits at a time when employment alternatives are scarce. More pluralistic approaches to commons theory and its policy application have utility well beyond the lobster case.

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International Journal of the Commons



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This is an article published by IASC in International Journal of the Commons in 2012, available online: