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Land tenure as discursive practice: politics of land law between local African practices and French legacies 
Till Förster (University of Basel)
Aïdas Sanogo (Centre Universitaire de Manga)
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Till Förster (University of Basel)
Room 1139
Friday 10 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

Land tenure can take various forms in a context of legal pluralism. Beyond the descriptions and classifications of the French land law entangled with the African ones, this panel analyses the discursive practices related to land ten-ure in former French colonies.

Long Abstract:

Land law and tenure have been contested issues since independence. While colonial legislations mainly reproduced the models of the metropolitan coun-tries, these legislations went through a slow but steady process of syncretisa-tion after independence. Local concepts of law had an increasing impact on legal procedures and eventually on the body of legislative texts. Such pro-cesses were debated in politics and reflected in many a comment by law scholars. Besides these visible translations of changing understandings of land law and tenure, there were and are a myriad of local practices that are not cast into legal texts. Actors of different backgrounds bargain over land issues in a wide variety of situations: from densely packed urban neighbourhoods where access to land is as difficult and expensive as in many cities of the Global North, to arable land that has had almost no monetary value until na-tional or foreign companies began to acquire it for large-scale, market-oriented food production. The actors often make use of colonial legacies if they advance their claims to land – and so do their opponents to counterbal-ance their claims. The same ideas of basic legal principles to retain or get ac-cess to land surface on both sides, merging what is often labelled as essen-tially different. Local practices and legal texts thus interact in a way that is best conceived as a highly complex discursive formation where all sides – from lo-cal communities and small holders, civil servants to international agencies and companies – try to strengthen their own position by making use of the argu-ments from the other side. This panel primarily seeks studies and analyses of discursive practices related to land in former French African colonies. Case studies from other linguistic parts of the continent are also welcome could al-so bring a benefit to the debate.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 10 June, 2022, -