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Accepted Paper:

The reinvention of tradition: negotiating land law in periurban Ghana  
Raluca Pernes (Babes-Bolyai University)

Paper long abstract:

Fast development of the periurban areas in Ghana has made land management a contested issue. Legal pluralism means the stakes are high for agents to attempt to redefine customary law, as well as reinvent tradition and history with the purpose of strategically situating themselves in powerful positions. Fights over land are being fought within "traditional" settings, but also in courts, with tools ranging from colonial records and former child-witnesses to "land guards". The state, having withdrawn from the game by delegating the responsibility for land management to the traditional leaders, is re-established as an important actor once conflict of interest, theft and violence call for another authority.

This paper starts from the case of a Ghanaian town to ethnographically explore how individuals constantly recreate what falls within the limits of the law and how they regulate non-legal behaviours in a situation of fuzzy legal systems and unclearly defined state involvement.

Panel W092
Frontiers of 'legality' under neoliberalism: ethnographic explorations across shifting temporal and spatial scales
  Session 1