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Formalizing Indigenous Commons: The Role of ‘Authority’ in the Formation of Territories in Nicaragua, Bolivia, and the Philippines


  • Larson, Anne M.
  • Cronkleton, Peter J.
  • Pulhin, Juan M.


Indigenous peoples have sometimes sought the formalization of their customary territories to ensure the enforcement of their borders. The process of formalization, however, generates new conflicts. The process of constituting collective territories is intimately related to the constitution of authority, as it involves not only the negotiation of physical boundaries but also the recognition of a particular entity to represent the collective. Similarly, given that ‘authority’ implies legitimacy, such legitimacy will have to be produced. Comparing indigenous territories in Nicaragua, Bolivia, and the Philippines, this article shows how authority emerges from conflictive processes and shapes rights and powers over forests.

Suggested Citation

  • Larson, Anne M. & Cronkleton, Peter J. & Pulhin, Juan M., 2015. "Formalizing Indigenous Commons: The Role of ‘Authority’ in the Formation of Territories in Nicaragua, Bolivia, and the Philippines," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 228-238.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:70:y:2015:i:c:p:228-238
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.02.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Turner, Matthew D. & Ayantunde, Augustine A. & Patterson, Kristen P. & Patterson, E. Daniel, 2012. "Conflict Management, Decentralization and Agropastoralism in Dryland West Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 745-757.
    2. Peters, Pauline E., 2009. "Challenges in Land Tenure and Land Reform in Africa: Anthropological Contributions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1317-1325, August.
    3. Berry, Sara, 2009. "Building for the Future? Investment, Land Reform and the Contingencies of Ownership in Contemporary Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1370-1378, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andersson, Krister P. & Smith, Steven M. & Alston, Lee J. & Duchelle, Amy E. & Mwangi, Esther & Larson, Anne M. & de Sassi, Claudio & Sills, Erin O. & Sunderlin, William D. & Wong, Grace Y., 2018. "Wealth and the distribution of benefits from tropical forests: Implications for REDD+," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 510-522.
    2. Fontana, Lorenza B. & Grugel, Jean, 2016. "The Politics of Indigenous Participation Through “Free Prior Informed Consent”: Reflections from the Bolivian Case," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 249-261.
    3. Nicole Gross-Camp & Iokine Rodriguez & Adrian Martin & Mirna Inturias & Glory Massao, 2019. "The Type of Land We Want: Exploring the Limits of Community Forestry in Tanzania and Bolivia," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(6), pages 1-16, March.
    4. McCall, Michael K., 2016. "Beyond “Landscape” in REDD+: The Imperative for “Territory”," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 58-72.

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