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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 January 2013


This article proposes an analytic framework to describe variation in forms of land-related conflict that emerge in widely varying circumstances and settings. Focusing on conflict among smallholders, the article suggests that these social processes can often be thought of as redistributive conflicts that are shaped by the land tenure regimes that govern land access and allocation. Land tenure regimes can be conceptualized schematically as constituted by rules about property, authority, jurisdiction and citizenship, and as differentiated along these dimensions. They define a locus of political authority over land rights at the local level, a territorial arena, social groups with different land rights and interests, and the distribution of political and economic powers and rights among them. These arrangements vary across space and over time, shaping the political arenas in which land rights are contested and producing different forms of land-related conflict. In many situations, these dimensions of land regimes are blurred, layered and changing, adding additional dimensions of complexity to land politics that the analysis proposed here may help to illuminate.


Cet article propose un cadre analytique pour décrire la variation des formes de conflits liés à la terre survenant dans un large éventail de circonstances et de contextes. Centré sur les conflits entre petits exploitants, l'article suggère que l'on peut souvent penser ces processus sociaux comme des conflits redistributifs façonnés par les régimes fonciers qui régissent l'accès à la terre et son affectation. Il est possible de conceptualiser les régimes fonciers de manière schématique comme étant constitués par des règles concernant la propriété, l'autorité, la juridiction et la citoyenneté, et comme étant différenciés selon ces dimensions. Ils définissent un siège d'autorité politique sur les droits fonciers au niveau local, une arène territoriale, des groupes sociaux aux intérêts et droits fonciers divergents, et la distribution des pouvoirs et droits politiques et économiques autour desquels ils s'articulent. Ces modalités varient dans l'espace et dans le temps, façonnant les arènes politiques dans lesquelles sont contestés les droits fonciers et produisant différentes formes de conflit lié à la terre. Dans de nombreuses situations, ces dimensions de régimes fonciers sont floues, multicouche et changeantes, et ajoutent des dimensions supplémentaires de complexité à la politique foncière que l'analyse proposée ici peut aider à éclairer.

Research Article
Copyright © International African Institute 2013

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