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The Politics of Harmony
Land Dispute Strategies in Swaziland

$39.99 (C)

Part of African Studies

  • Date Published: March 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521024686

$ 39.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Laurel Rose analyzes how traditional ruling elites in Swaziland, as in other parts of Africa, use harmony ideologies to downplay and resolve land disputes. Such disputes could be used by foreign development agents or indigenous new elites as justification for implementing land tenure changes, including a reduction of traditional elites' power based upon land control. Swazi commoners accept the cultural value and legitimacy of most harmony ideologies, but they adopt various strategies when disputing about particular land rights in order to produce more favorable outcomes. This book is unusual in its focus on political rather than economic dimensions of land tenure and disputes. It searches for links between individual concerns with land use rights and national concerns with land policy. It also examines gender and leadership issues associated with land, showing how women and new elites threaten land interests of men and traditional leaders.

    • Analyses the role of harmony ideologies in land disputes among the traditional elites in Swaziland
    • Unusually the book focuses on the political rather than economic aspects of land tenure and disputes
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Perhaps the book's chief merit is the serious attention it pays to the place of women within the Swazi customary legal system...This is a thoughtful book that will be of interest in legal anthropologists and other students of 'customary' law in postcolonial Africa." American Anthropologist

    "The core of this book provides a fascinating ethnographic glimpse into the operation of customary courts in the 1980s....this is an absorbing and provocative book, amply demonstrating the need for a new historical anthropology of Swaziland." Jonathan Crush, The International Journal of African Historical Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521024686
    • length: 256 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.401kg
    • contains: 3 b/w illus. 14 maps 7 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. National and Local Settings:
    1. The geographical, historical, political, and social bases of customary land tenure relations
    2. The legal structure for customary land tenure relations
    3. Two communities: arenas for land disputes
    Part II. Harmony and Land:
    4. The politics of harmony: land dispute strategies
    5. Land dispute cases in the political hierarchy
    6. 'A woman is like a field': women's land dispute strategies
    7. 'How could I take my land dispute to the person with the stick?': elites' land dispute strategies. 8. Conclusions

  • Author

    Laurel L. Rose

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