Land Rights and National Politics in Africa


ACLS Fellowship Program



Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow named award


Although policy analysts point to the increasing incidence and impact of land-related conflict in Africa, the systemic political causes and implications of this problem are very poorly understood. This project addresseses this issue by developing a typology of variation in rural property regimes that shows that state power is imbricated in land tenure arrangements in variable and in some circumstances, highly contentious ways. This study advances a hypothesis about when land-related conflict is likely to fuel ethnicized partisan conflict, and tests it by analyzing the circumstances and political denouement of land conflicts in six African countries since 1990. The study has implications for assessing prospects for democracy and the development of nation-states in Africa.