Advanced

Histories of land : Politicization, property and belonging in Molo, Kenya

Kolben Waaranperä, Ulrika LU (2018) In Lund Political Studies
Abstract
This thesis aims to explore the politicization of land in a local setting in Kenya. The purpose is to study how access to land is justified through histories about relational property and belonging. The notion of deep politics is used in order to suggest that these histories of property and belonging not only transform the meanings of land but also the meanings of politics.
The empirical chapters describe how the ordeals of the high politics of the state—such as the creation of settlement schemes, the provision of landed resources, or the alteration of constituency boundaries—have given rise to local histories about how property and belonging are constituted. The findings of the thesis build on extensive fieldwork. The main empirical... (More)
This thesis aims to explore the politicization of land in a local setting in Kenya. The purpose is to study how access to land is justified through histories about relational property and belonging. The notion of deep politics is used in order to suggest that these histories of property and belonging not only transform the meanings of land but also the meanings of politics.
The empirical chapters describe how the ordeals of the high politics of the state—such as the creation of settlement schemes, the provision of landed resources, or the alteration of constituency boundaries—have given rise to local histories about how property and belonging are constituted. The findings of the thesis build on extensive fieldwork. The main empirical material consists of qualitative interviews with 129 persons, undertaken primarily in Molo. The interviews are complemented with ethnographic observations and archival sources.
In policy and theory alike, land is usually treated as a purely economic resource, subject to property rights regulations of a technical, universal and decontextualized nature. Such assumptions have underwritten many large-scale land privatization reforms in the Global South. In contrast to such assumptions, this dissertation contributes to the literature on access to land in Africa by suggesting that even when property rights to land are generally accepted, they are also backed up by other claims, such as various histories of belonging. The idea that property rights, decades after titling-reforms, are both accepted and complemented with other notions of what constitutes legitimate access to land is an original finding of the thesis. This adds further complexity to the notion of property as inherently relational and potentially eligible for politicization. Additional light is hereby cast on why conflicts over land might not be solved but instead reinforced by land reforms. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Den här avhandlingen syftar till att utforska politiseringen av mark på lokal nivå i Kenya. Avhandlingen visar hur tillgång till mark legitimeras via berättelser om egendom (property) och tillhörighet (belonging). Begreppet djup politik (deep politics) används för att visa hur de här berättelserna inte bara förändrar synen på mark utan också synen på politik.
De empiriska kapitlen beskriver hur statens politiska åtgärder – till exempel inrättandet av bosättningar, fördelning av markbundna resurser eller förändringar av valkretsgränser – har gett upphov till berättelser på lokal nivå om hur egendom och tillhörighet bör definieras. Avhandlingens resultat bygger på extensivt fältarbete. Det huvudsakliga empiriska materialet består av... (More)
Den här avhandlingen syftar till att utforska politiseringen av mark på lokal nivå i Kenya. Avhandlingen visar hur tillgång till mark legitimeras via berättelser om egendom (property) och tillhörighet (belonging). Begreppet djup politik (deep politics) används för att visa hur de här berättelserna inte bara förändrar synen på mark utan också synen på politik.
De empiriska kapitlen beskriver hur statens politiska åtgärder – till exempel inrättandet av bosättningar, fördelning av markbundna resurser eller förändringar av valkretsgränser – har gett upphov till berättelser på lokal nivå om hur egendom och tillhörighet bör definieras. Avhandlingens resultat bygger på extensivt fältarbete. Det huvudsakliga empiriska materialet består av kvalitativa intervjuer med 129 personer, i första hand genomförda i Molo. Intervjuerna kompletteras både med etnografiska observationer och arkivkällor.
Både i tidigare forskning och på policy-nivå har mark ofta behandlats som en i huvudsak ekonomisk resurs som kan regleras på ett sätt som är tekniskt, juridiskt och frikopplat från kontextuella faktorer. Sådana antaganden har legat till grund för många privatiseringsreformer av mark, framförallt i det globala syd. Avhandlingen visar hur sådana antaganden vilar på förenklade antaganden som inte tar hänsyn till varken historisk, politisk eller social kontext genom att beskriva hur mark, också årtionden efter det att privata äganderätter etablerats, behöver motiveras och legitimeras med andra argument, till exempel med berättelser om tillhörighet och om egendom grundad i historiska anspråk. Detta fördjupar kunskapen om egendomsrättigheter som relationella och därför mottagliga för politisering, vilket är avhandlingens huvudbidrag. Härigenom ökar förståelsen för varför markreformer inte nödvändigtvis löser konflikter utan istället kan bidra till att fördjupa dem. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Research Professor Bøås, Morten, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
organization
alternative title
Historier om mark : Politisering, egendom och tillhörighet i Molo, Kenya
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
egendom, tillhörighet, Kenya, politisering, mark, historier, property, belonging, politicization, land, histories, deep politics, Kenya
in
Lund Political Studies
issue
189
pages
266 pages
publisher
Lund University
defense location
Niagara, auditorium, NI:C0E11, Nordenskiöldsgatan 1, Malmö
defense date
2018-04-19 10:15:00
external identifiers
  • scopus:85033372015
ISSN
0460-0037
ISBN
978-91-7753-568-3
978-91-7753-567-6
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7ea817fc-5085-4da8-8507-8693afc7a4bf
date added to LUP
2018-03-28 09:55:17
date last changed
2020-10-27 01:11:04
@phdthesis{7ea817fc-5085-4da8-8507-8693afc7a4bf,
  abstract     = {This thesis aims to explore the politicization of land in a local setting in Kenya. The purpose is to study how access to land is justified through histories about relational property and belonging. The notion of deep politics is used in order to suggest that these histories of property and belonging not only transform the meanings of land but also the meanings of politics.<br/>The empirical chapters describe how the ordeals of the high politics of the state—such as the creation of settlement schemes, the provision of landed resources, or the alteration of constituency boundaries—have given rise to local histories about how property and belonging are constituted. The findings of the thesis build on extensive fieldwork. The main empirical material consists of qualitative interviews with 129 persons, undertaken primarily in Molo. The interviews are complemented with ethnographic observations and archival sources.<br/>In policy and theory alike, land is usually treated as a purely economic resource, subject to property rights regulations of a technical, universal and decontextualized nature. Such assumptions have underwritten many large-scale land privatization reforms in the Global South. In contrast to such assumptions, this dissertation contributes to the literature on access to land in Africa by suggesting that even when property rights to land are generally accepted, they are also backed up by other claims, such as various histories of belonging. The idea that property rights, decades after titling-reforms, are both accepted and complemented with other notions of what constitutes legitimate access to land is an original finding of the thesis. This adds further complexity to the notion of property as inherently relational and potentially eligible for politicization. Additional light is hereby cast on why conflicts over land might not be solved but instead reinforced by land reforms.},
  author       = {Kolben Waaranperä, Ulrika},
  isbn         = {978-91-7753-568-3},
  issn         = {0460-0037},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {03},
  number       = {189},
  publisher    = {Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Lund Political Studies},
  title        = {Histories of land : Politicization, property and belonging in Molo, Kenya},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/40563945/Histories_of_land_Waaranper_doctoral_thesis.pdf},
  year         = {2018},
}