James Fairhead, University of Sussex
′Who gets to determine the legitimacy of claims and rights over property and resources? Any answer to this question must be sensitive to the varied forms by which societies organize and institutionalise access to and control over resources whether this be among peasant communities in Indonesia forests or in the slumworld of Mumbai or Lagos. But equally important is a full accounting of the forms of authority by which rights are conferred and relatedly how these forms of authority have limits and are invariably contested, fought over (often violently), disputed and reformed (even overturned). The ways in which authority, power and property are always inseparably linked strikes to the heart of Politics of Possession. Sikor and Lund have drawn together the leading theorists working on the property and natural resource question. The chapters are a brave and innovative mix of conceptual innovation, thick description and comparative insight. A pathbreaking and foundational book.′
Michael Watts, University of California, Berkeley
Access to resources is often contested and rife with conflict. This holds particularly true in societies characterized by normative pluralism such as post–colonial and post–socialist countries. Access and property are very dynamic because they are joined to questions of power and authority. The process of seeking authorization for property claims works to legitimize the authorizers, and the efforts undertaken by politico–legal institutions to gain legitimacy underpin and undermine various claims of access and property. This book includes some of the latest theoretical work on the dynamics of access, property and authority. Bringing the debate about access and property to speak to issues of power and authority, it also offers a thought–provoking approach to the study of everyday processes of state formation. Its contributions explore the politics of possession from a wide empirical compass of original research spanning Latin America, Africa, South–East Asia and Eastern Europe.
1. Access and Property: A Question of Power and Authority (Thomas Sikor, University of East Anglia and Christian Lund, Roskilde University, Denmark).
2. Property, Authority and Citizenship: Land Claims, Politics and the Dynamics of Social Division in West Africa (Sara Berry, Johns Hopkins University).
3. Rubber Erasures, Rubber Producing Rights: Making Racialized Territories in West Kalimantan, Indonesia (Nancy Lee Peluso, University of California, Berkeley).
4. Ruling by Record: The Meaning of Rights, Rules and Registration in an Andean Comunidad (Monique Nuijten, Wageningen University and David Lorenzo, Roskilde University, Denmark).
5. Authority over Forests: Empowerment and Subordination in Senegal s Democratic Decentralization (Jesse C. Ribot, University of Illinois).
6. Recategorizing Public and Private Property in Ghana (Christian Lund, Roskilde University, Denmark).
7. Land Access and Titling in Nicaragua (Rikke B. Broegaard, Danish Institute for International Studies).
8. Negotiating Post–Socialist Property and State: Struggles over Forests in Albania and Romania (Thomas Sikor, University of East Anglia; Johannes Stahl, University of California, Berkeley; and Stefan Dorondel, Humboldt University Berlin).
9. Property and Authority in a Migrant Society: Balinese Irrigators in Sulawesi, Indonesia (Dik Roth, Wageningen University).
Christian Lund is Professor in International Development Studies at Roskilde University, Denmark. He is the author of Local Politics and the Dynamics of Property in Africa (2008) and Law, Power, and Politics in Niger – Land Struggles and the Rural Code (1998). He is the editor and co–editor of Twilight Institutions: Public Authority and Local Politics in Africa (2007), and Negotiating Property in Africa (2002).