Local Politics and the Dynamics of Property in Africa

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-03-24
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Access to land and property is vital to peoples livelihoods in rural, peri-urban, and urban areas in Africa. People exert tremendous energy to have land claims recognized as rights with a variety of political, administrative, and legal institutions. This book provides a detailed analysis of how public authority and the state are formed through debates and struggles over property in the Upper East Region of Ghana. While scarcity may indeed promote exclusivity, the evidence from this book shows that when there are many institutions competing for the right to authorize claims to land, the result of an effort to unify and clarify the law is to intensify competition among them and weaken their legitimacy. The book explores how state divestiture of land in 1979 encouraged competition between customary authorities and how the institution of the earthpriest was revived. Such processes are key to understanding property and authority in Africa.

Table of Contents

List of Maps, Figures, and Tablesp. vi
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Abbreviationsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
"This Situation Is Incongruous in the Extreme": The History of Land Policies in the Upper Regions of Ghanap. 25
Who Owns Bolgatanga? The Revival of the Earthpriest and Emerging Tensions over Propertyp. 47
Seizing Opportunities: Chieftaincy, Land, and Local Administrationp. 68
Settled Facts or Facts to Settle: Land Conflicts under Institutional Uncertaintyp. 90
"Bawku Is Still Volatile": Ethnopolitical Conflict and State Recognitionp. 108
The Rent of Nonenforcement: Access to Forest Resourcesp. 134
Small Dams and Fluid Tenurep. 156
Conclusionp. 174
Referencesp. 183
Indexp. 197
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