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The examples of political advice contained in this anthology, written across terrain that stretched from Egypt to Central Asia, date from the first half of the tenth century to the first half of the twelfth century (roughly, the Islamic Early Middle Period). The mirror-writers were both formed by and responded to the conditions in which they lived. This second chapter presents an overview of political and intellectual developments in western Asia in the Early Middle Period. It begins with a general, thematic discussion of the processes of historical change taking place in the region in the tenth to twelfth centuries, and proceeds to offer a narrative history of the major polities of the period (Samanids, Karakhanids, Buyids, Ghaznavids, Seljuks, Fatimids). It locates each mirror and mirror-writer within their specific contexts and points to interconnections among them across this historical-geographical canvas.
Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala's 1616 El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno stands as the author's staggering attempt to obtain by privilege that which he could not secure through justice: status as a native lord and title to lands. Indeed, the last 20 years of the native chronicler's life as we know it, roughly from 1595 to 1615, are marked by the usual milestones of an ascending clerical career in the service of provincial priests, inspectors, and administrators from the south central Andean region stretching between Jauja and Huamanga.1
Several small towns in Hieradoumia received polis-status between the Augustan and Flavian periods. None of these communities seem to have had an especially dense or elaborate urban fabric, and all had a relatively limited roster of civic magistrates. There is little sign that the local civic elite was strongly distinct either in wealth or cultural horizons from the ordinary rural population, and Roman citizenship was not widespread before the constitutio Antoniniana; the largest private landholdings in the region seem to have been in the hands of wealthy non-resident landowners from Sardis, Philadelphia, or further afield. The polis remained a marginal phenomenon in Roman Hieradoumia, where the chief focus of communal life was instead the self-governing village. Villages overlapped strongly with cult-associations, and in a few cases, we have good evidence for segmentary organization of villages by kin-groups. The chapter concludes with a defence of the conception of Roman Hieradoumia as a fundamentally kin-ordered society.
The uses and transformations of the concept of land use, occupation, and possession in West Central Africa from the late sixteenth to the early nineteenth century are examined. Rather than stressing the concept of wealth in people, this chapter explores how people exercised land rights and control and displayed wealth. In West Central Africa, as elsewhere in the continent, claims over land, people, and things were based on and shaped by notions of kinship, community membership, and the broader social context. The distinction between the public and the private was blurred. Recognition of claims and rights was the result of political and economic competition among rulers, subjects, and neighbors. All actors, some with more power than others, engaged in the definition of land use, rights, occupation, and inheritance, retaining control of goods and wealth that could be expressed in a variety of ways. With the arrival of Europeans in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, more actors engaged in the principle of territorial occupation and subjugation to make bold claims of sovereignty based on the idea that land was unused or unoccupied. Since different ideas of possession and jurisdiction were at the center of these interactions, clashes between conceptions of land use, access, and occupation are analyzed.
Chapter 2 focuses on the fixing and transformation of property rights during the nineteenth century. Possession claims and inheritance practices change over time, and in many ways the available historical evidence hid these changes, reprojecting a nineteenth-century understanding of land regimes. The imposition of land titles and land charts crystallized processes that were fluid until then. Yet the long list of vassalage treaties, inventories, and disputes between African rulers, their neighbors, and the Portuguese analyzed in the chapter provides a clear example of how all actors engaged in a continued negotiation over possession, jurisdiction, rights, and claims. The Portuguese misunderstandings about land use and rights are examined in detail, exploring the consequences for African historiography.
Chapter 2 provides an overview of the contemporary context of customary authority and control over land rights in Africa, while situating Zambia and Senegal within broader regional trends. It shows that institutional pluralism in land rights at the local level is widespread and provides necessary background on a key mechanism driving incremental shifts in the control over land: piecemeal land titling. The chapter traces the titling process in Zambia and Senegal, including how customary authorities use unofficial and official channels to exert agency. In addition, Chapter 2 introduces two alternative explanations for the uneven expansion of state control over land. It explains why we need new frameworks that examine the agency of citizens and customary authorities, and the ways in which institutions shape their responses to titling.
This chapter explores the legal history of dispossession in the nineteenth century. It argues, first, that the failure to sign a treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for land in Australia was a significant act of dispossession. While there was no declaration that Australia was ‘terra nullius’ in 1788, the failure to treat has been wielded since to dispossess Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of land rights and sovereignty. The chapter then explores dispossession through the legal history of expansion – the mixture of legality and lawlessness that fed the pastoral boom in Australia after 1824. With the advent of self-government, Australian legislation facilitating the breaking up of some pastoral leases into fee simple farms from 1861 effected a more complete dispossession by closing Country to Indigenous Australians. These varied processes of dispossession by tenure were fed by acts and omissions of jurisdiction. For many decades, Aboriginal people were not protected by settler law because their legal status was unclear. The designation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as subjects of the British crown after 1836 resulted in an uneven mix of hyper-policing and under-policing.
This chapter discusses the economic developments occurring within the Ptolemaic empire (323–30 BCE), of which Egypt was the core province. It explores how state formation affected economic development and how Ptolemaic imperialism, demography, and the interaction between Egyptian and Greek social networks were factors of economic change and economic exploitation. After an overview of past and current approaches to the economy of the Ptolemaic empire and of the geography of the empire, it assesses the cost and benefits of military conquests and the management of migrations patterns and new settlements by the Ptolemies, who increased their revenues and reduced the cost of their army through land allotments to cleruchs. The political economy of the Ptolemies relied on a complex tax system, with some documents pointing to a centralized taxation of the provinces, and innovative but also unusual monetary policies, such as closed-currency system based on a lower weight standard than the Attic standard in Egypt, Cyprus, and Syria-Phoenicia. The chapter concludes with examples of the synergistic relationship between empire, warfare, and trade and between the public and private spheres of the economy, and sketches the purchasing power of different economic groups in Egypt.
Bulambuli district in eastern Uganda suffered chronic insecurity arising from cattle rustling since the 1960s and recently became awash with escalating land conflicts. Focusing on the disputed ownership over Plot 94 in Bunambutye, Khanakwa examines the intersection between cattle rustling, land conflicts, and peace-building. While scholarship often overlooks the relationship between livestock theft and social conflict, evidence from Bulambuli highlights the efforts of affected communities vis-à-vis the failures of local political leadership to resolve tensions. The Ugandan government’s failure to enforce recommendations in a timely manner speaks to the urgency of arbitration and cancellation of fraudulent land titles.
The integrity and durability of the Chinese empire over two millennia rested on the strength of its fiscal capacity. From antiquity, sovereignty was linked to the ruler’s duty to provide for the economic as well as moral welfare of his subjects. Rulers of the Bronze Age manifested and reproduced their authority through distribution of wealth among their kinsmen and noble allies. The autocratic monarchs who rose to dominance after 500 bce amassed wealth to buttress their military prowess, but they also strove to protect the independence and livelihood of the smallholder family farmers who undergirded their economic prosperity. The institutional apparatus of the fiscal state – centralized planning of taxation and expenditure to satisfy the state’s commitments to good governance – became a defining feature of the first empires, beginning with the Qin dynasty (221–206 bce). Yet at the same time the rise of a market economy also shaped the relationship between the state and its subjects. Even the command economy instituted by the Qin Empire made accommodations to markets, merchants, and money.
Similar to the Chhattisgarh chapter, I use archival and interview data to do process tracing of the mechanisms for another crucial pathway case of Maoist insurgency in Andhra Pradesh. The Telangana districts of Andhra Pradesh that had Maoist insurgency were historically part of the princely state of Hyderabad where Nizam’s rule created lower levels of development and land inequality and despotic extraction, which then persisted into postcolonial times through path dependence. The Telangana peasant rebellion of 1946-49 provided rebel agency and organizational networks and was followed by the CPI-Marxist- Leninist movement in 1967-72, and culminated in the People’s War Group (PWG) Maoist insurgency in the 1980s. All these rebellions succeeded in the Telangana districts of the former princely state of Hyderabad, and not in the British direct ruled areas of Madras province that had higher levels of development and less land inequality. I also describe the history of evolution of the PWG Maoists in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh and show how rebel agency exploited the structural conditions to create successful Maoist insurgency. Finally, I test the theory on an Assembly Constituency dataset to show that former princely state constituencies had positive correlation with Maoist control.
I use archival and fieldwork-based qualitative data to do process tracing of the causal mechanisms of the crucial pathway case of the Maoists in Chhattisgarh. The northern and southern parts of Chhattisgarh had colonial indirect rule through feudatory princely states, which created weak state capacity and despotic extraction of land revenue and natural resources through landlords and feudatory chiefs. This created tribal grievances that persisted in the postcolonial period in the 1950s-80s through path dependence of these mechanisms, which were mobilized by the People’s War Group (PWG) Maoists, leading to high levels of Maoist rebel control by the 1990s. In contrast the central districts of Raipur and Bilaspur had been under British direct rule and had relatively higher levels of development and less exploitation of forest and natural resources of tribals, and so the Maoists did not succeed there. I describe the history of the PWG Maoists and how they contributed to the welfare of the tribals and opposed natural/forest resource exploitation, which highlights the role of rebel agency. Finally, I develop a novel constituency-level dataset to test the theory and show that former princely state constituencies had more Maoist control.
What explains the peculiar spatial variation of Maoist insurgency in India? Mukherjee develops a novel typology of colonial indirect rule and land tenure in India, showing how they can lead to land inequality, weak state and Maoist insurgency. Using a multi-method research design that combines qualitative analysis of archival data on Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh states, Mukherjee demonstrates path dependence of land/ethnic inequality leading to Maoist insurgency. This is nested within a quantitative analysis of a district level dataset which uses an instrumental variable analysis to address potential selection bias in colonial choice of princely states. The author also analyses various Maoist documents, and interviews with key human rights activists, police officers, and bureaucrats, providing rich contextual understanding of the motivations of agents. Furthermore, he demonstrates the generalizability of his theory to cases of colonial frontier indirect rule causing ethnic secessionist insurgency in Burma, and the Taliban insurgency in Pakistan.
This chapter explores the global reach of “gatekeeper theory.” It studies how the institutional structure of electoral quotas and economic reforms for greater gender equality interact, comparing parental leave in the former Soviet Union and Sweden, and land tenure reforms in Tanzania and Rwanda. Where women’s quotas are effective, reforms are enforced (everywhere but Tanzania). However, the welfare impact of such enforcement depends on whether reform enables integrative bargaining. If so, we see empowerment; otherwise, backlash follows. The chapter next explains how the book’s findings build theory in three domains: how quotas change the relationship between citizens and families, communities, and the state, through the prism of bargaining power; which mechanisms push the impact of reform toward increasing either social equality or resistance; and the necessity of studying how evolving social norms, political institutions, and economic rights can converge to achieve greater equality. It concludes that local political institutions can productively engage with social norms to bring about progressive, egalitarian change. To do so, reform must exploit critical junctures, where multiple paths are possible. By identifying and paying close attention to these pivotal intersections, we foster mutually beneficial agreements within families in the service of incremental social progress.
The chapter takes a critical look at the interpretation of the Bale insurgency as a peasant rebellion. It provides an evaluation of available empirical data, revisits earlier arguments, and forwards new suggestions on the questions of land alienation, taxation, and socioeconomic changes in Bale in the period from Emperor Menelik’s conquest until the outbreak of the insurgency in the 1960s. The chapter’s main point is to determine how relevant these issues are for an accurate understanding of the insurgency – as well as for the prevailing antagonism felt by the different peoples in the south toward the Amhara and the state. The chapter amply demonstrates that there is little evidence of any widespread land alienation, subsequently transforming the peasants into landless tenants. Similarly important, it makes the point that it is hard to categorize the people in Bale as peasants; a pastoralist economy continued to be relevant for most of the postwar period. While concluding that there was no direct correlation between land alienation and the insurgency, the chapter underscores that rather than the highlanders, the insurgents were overwhelmingly pastoralist lowlanders, and the theater of fighting was concentrated in the eastern and southern lowlands of Bale.
The chapter continues the investigation of land and land tenure to better understand the spatial and material dimensions of belonging – essential for the construction of peoplehood. It demonstrates that the introduction of a new land-tenure system in Bale had lasting consequences for what is called the land-clan connection, affecting people’s experiences in their landscapes and their notions of home. The chapter’s first part discusses the Arsi Oromo notions of land and their arrangement of land rights and use in pre-conquest Bale. Special attention is given to land as communal property, to how the land-clan connection secured access to land, and to its significance for emplaced belonging. The second part of the chapter details the impacts changes in the land-tenure system had on these “traditional” perceptions and arrangements – paying attention to processes of privatization and commodification of land. The main argument is that the ensuing changes led to increased privatization and commodification of land, individualism, and a more stratified society, inevitably affecting the land-clan connection. The chapter thus demonstrates the inadequacy of a mechanistic and one-dimensional class perspective and points to the relevance of ethnicity and religion as integral parts of a robust materalist interpretation of land.
Although it is well known that the colonial state embarked upon creating a “rule of property” in India from the eighteenth century onward, the manner in which this project unfolded in early East India Company settlements such as Bombay was different from the territories that only later came under British control. In the latter, a confident and assertive colonial state executed its agenda; in the former, a tentative Company was concerned initially with asserting its sovereignty by asserting that all the land in Bombay belonged to it. In cities like Bombay, thus, a deep and enduring tension lay at the heart of the rule of property: between a state that endorsed a liberal vision sanctifying private property, on the one hand, and a state that jealously guarded its proprietary rights over lands, on the other hand. This tension was deployed by state and nonstate actors to pursue their own ends.
Mimbres painted pottery from the U.S. Southwest is renowned for its spectacular designs. Literature on style and identity suggests three concepts helpful for understanding its social significance: boundaries, multiple dimensions of variation, and historical context. This article investigates these concepts by synthesizing past studies with new analyses. The distribution of Mimbres pottery is strongly bounded, demonstrated with data from the cyberSW project. Variation in designs is multidimensional: (1) individual artists created distinctive styles; (2) specific designs are distributed homogeneously across the region, a conclusion demonstrated in part with new analyses of the geometric designs; and (3) pan-regionally, the designs’ content, regular structure, and appearance on multiple media suggest they were meaning-charged. Considering these findings in their historical context provides insights into the pottery's social significance and elaboration: population growth in the resource-rich Mimbres region engendered land tenure systems, marked in part by burials that included pottery. The pottery came to convey the message “I belong here” from two perspectives. By adopting the pottery, people, including migrants, signaled their acceptance of established ways of life in the region, and their access to the pottery indicated their acceptance in the social milieu.