Powers of Exclusion: Land Dilemmas in Southeast Asia
By Derek Hall, Philip Hirsch and Tania Murray Li
Released 2011, National University of Singapore Press
Questions of who can access land and who is excluded from it underlie many recent social and political conflicts in Southeast Asia. Powers of Exclusion examines the key processes through which shifts in land relations are taking place, notably state land allocation and provision of property rights, the dramatic expansion of areas zoned for conservation, booms in the production of export-oriented crops, the conversion of farmland to post-agrarian uses, “intimate” exclusions involving kin and co-villagers, and mobilizations around land farmed in terms of identity and belonging. In case studies drawn from seven countries, the authors find that four “powers of exclusion” – regulation, market, force and legitimation – have combined to shape land relations in new and often surprising ways.
Land debates are often presented as a conflict between market-oriented land use with full private property rights on one side, and equitable access, production for subsistence, and respect for custom on the other. The authors step back from these debates to point out that any productive use of land requires the exclusion of some potential users, and that most projects for transforming land relations are thus accompanied by painful dilemmas. Rather than counterposing “exclusion” to “inclusion”, the book argues that attention must be paid to who is excluded, how, why, and with what consequences.
Powers of Exclusion draws on insights from multiple disciplines to map out the new contours of struggles for land in Southeast Asia. The volume provides a framework for analyzing the dilemmas of land relations across the Global South and beyond.
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