More than simply "socially embedded": recognising the distinctiveness of African land rights | Land Portal

Informations sur la ressource

Date of publication: 
janvier 2006
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
eldis:A23664

Land tenure reform remains a key policy issue in Africa, given the large proportion of people relying on land and natural resources for their livelihoods. This paper addresses the exclusionary nature of many processes around land, which can lead to social divisions. The increasing vulnerability of a poor majority must be the central focus of land policies, and democratisation of decision-making around land rights should be integral to these policies.The authors reveal that it is not enough to simply acknowledge the socially, politically and historically embedded character of land rights, or the unequal outcomes of contemporary forms of "enclosure". Specifically, they find that:occupation and use rights must be made socially legitimate as they are currently held and practised – regardless of whether or not they are "customary"law and policy needs to respond to the key features of these property regimes. If they do not, there is a risk of distorting them in attempts to codify and register rightslegal frameworks should attribute land rights to those who occupy and use land, and not in groups or institutions. These frameworks should recognise that rights are often shared and socially relative, and therefore also be flexiblethe State must play a key role in overseeing local governance. This is needed to ensure democratic principles are applied and that there is accountability to the majority of rights-holders.

Auteurs et éditeurs

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

B. Cousins
A. Claassens

Fournisseur de données

eldis (ELDIS)

Eldis is an online information service providing free access to relevant, up-to-date and diverse research on international development issues. The database includes over 40,000 summaries and provides free links to full-text research and policy documents from over 8,000 publishers. Each document is selected by members of our editorial team.


Partagez cette page