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Land And The Politics Of Belonging In Africa

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Chapter Summary

In recent African politics, non-territorial strategies of belonging have lost considerable ground. This chapter addresses the issue of land rights, focusing particularly on their political implications. It also calls for a deeply historical perspective. We must not only recognize that today's land rights are negotiable and politically embedded, but also see that this was the case in the pre-colonial and, of course, colonial-past and that these past configurations of, and conflicts over, land rights feed into current struggles over land and belonging. The pre-colonial dynamics of property regimes have received relatively little attention in the recent literature on African land rights. Some policy-oriented studies still seem to share the rather romantic view of pre-colonial land tenure developed by early colonial officials in cooperation with African chiefs.

Keywords: African land rights; African politics; pre-colonial land tenure



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