Land is always simultaneously an element within discourses of governance, a vital underpinning of everyday life, and often an explicit concern for the populations studied by anthropologists. By attending to this inherent multiplicity, this panel aims to realise land's fertile analytical potential.
This panel focuses upon the intersections demanded by the anthropological analysis of land in rural contexts, and the theoretical promise of attending closely to these intersections. Land is always simultaneously a key element within discourses of governance, a vital underpinning of everyday life bound up with personhood, kinship, identity and power, and, furthermore, frequently stands as an explicit political and cultural concern for the populations studied by anthropologists. In its implication in this range of fields, land operates as a critical site of conjuncture, and consequently demands that adequate analyses theorise the interplay between phenomena of distinct scales and perspectives; ranging from global patterns of land accumulation to ordinary experiences and feelings of landedness.
The ways in which state- or NGO-led interventions such as programs of land reform, restitution, privatisation or titling play into or interact with local dynamics and priorities; the ways in which political imaginaries intersect with the practicalities of livelihood strategy; the ways in which particular cultural constructions of land's qualities and affordances come to be bound up with broader administrative procedures. These statements map just a few of the angles of investigation opened up by attention to land's inherent multiplicity.
The theme of land stands as one of anthropology's most longstanding theoretical legacies. By stimulating debate through detailed case studies, this panel will demonstrate that attention to land's intersections can further realise its enduring theoretical promise. The conveners invite presentations from any geographical context which speak to these issues of intersection, interplay and conjuncture.