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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

8 - Land Reform

from Part II - Policies and Institutions for Social Cohesion


This chapter explores the impacts of recent land reforms on ethnicity and ethnic mobilisation. It examines the ways in which contemporary land reforms address issues of inclusive development and attempt to ameliorate ethnic conflicts or exacerbate ethnic tensions through the intended and unforeseen consequences of policies and policy assumptions. It also examines the impacts of the increasing commodification and scarcity of land on land conflicts. It first examines the framing and rational basis of land administrative reform in the contemporary period, the nature of reforms carried out in specific nations, and the impact of these reforms on rural society. It then identifies the structural relations that generates ethnic conflicts over land and illuminates this by drawing upon a number of case studies in the literature. This is placed within a historical framework, which seeks to contextualise contemporary land policies within the transformation of African societies and the underlying dilemmas that confront land reform.

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