Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1995


Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Social Work


In Anglo-American traditions, the concept of a commons has historically been most frequently attached to shared land in joint use by a village or community. The common theory of voluntary action presents organized collective action as consisting of shared purposes, shared resources and voluntary participation resulting in an evolving sense of mutuality, and moral order, consisting of shared norms of fairness and participation.

Source Citation

An earlier version of this was published as Viewpoint: Philanthropic Partnerships: The Theory of the Commons. Advancing Philanthropy. Chicago: National Society of Fund Raising Executives. Spring, 1995. 1-3.


Author's preprint.



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