Seminar on Politics and Land rights in developing countries

Two prominent observers of land issues present their research

Oplysninger om arrangementet


tirsdag 18. december 2018,  kl. 15:15 - 17:00


Building 1333, room 101 (A1)

This land is not 4 sale written on a house.

Citizens in most poor countries struggle to claim ownership to the land they live on. Population growth, urbanization, and large scale land Investments, among other things, put pressure on the land and create new conflicts and structure politics in new ways.

Two prominent observers of land issues in the developing world present their ongoing research and ask pertinent questions such as: How do land conflicts affect political and economic inequalities in developing countries? How do citizens struggle to keep their land?

After the presentations we will have a panel debate with questions and comments from the audience, as well as tea, coffee and cake.


Catherine Boone, Professor at London School of Economics and Political Science

”Regional inequality and Land Reform in Africa”

African countries are on the cusp of large-scale campaigns to promote the registration and tiling of rural land, most of which is currently in the hands of untitled smallholders. For African societies, this push toward commodification of land will represent a ”Great Transformation” of Polanyian proportions. Who gains and who loses from this spread of market relations? Drawing on political science analyses of the political geography of inequality within countries, this talk focuses on territorial inequalities within African states that drive distributive conflicts around the titling and privatization of rural land.

Christian Lund, Professor at Copenhagen University

”Nine-Tenths of the Law. Enduring Dispossession in Indonesia”

The old aphorism that ’possession is nine-tenths of the law’ suggests that property rights (’the law’) is not merely about formal rights, but, more importantly, about the political and physical capacity to hold things of value; land, in particular. Nonetheless, most landholders in Indonesia – from smallholders to the state – struggle hard to legalise their possessions as property. This presentation is about the relationship between possession and recognition; how the last tenth of the law relates to the other nine. Legalisation promises to take claims safely through times of changing fortunes as rights. Yet, as the Indonesian land legislation remains a thicket of competing rights and overlapping jurisdictions, people try to give their claims an ”air of legality” regardless of whether a genuine correspondence between them and statutory law actually exists.


Facilitator: Anne Mette Kjær, Aarhus University, and TRUSTLAND program