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December 21 , 2007

Property and Political Order in Africa

Land Rights and the Structure of Politics


In sub-Saharan Africa, property relationships around land and access to natural resources vary across localities, districts and farming regions. These differences produce patterned variations in relationships between individuals, communities and the state. This book captures these patterns in an analysis of structure and variation in rural land tenure regimes. In most farming areas, state authority is deeply embedded in land regimes, drawing farmers, ethnic insiders and outsiders, lineages, villages and communities into direct and indirect relationships with political authorities at different levels of the state apparatus. The analysis shows how property institutions - institutions that define political authority and hierarchy around land - shape dynamics of great interest to scholars of politics, including the dynamics of land-related competition and conflict, territorial conflict, patron-client relations, electoral cleavage and mobilization, ethnic politics, rural rebellion, and the localization and 'nationalization' of political competition.

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