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Property Relations by other Means: Conflict over Dryland Resources in Benin and Mali


  • Pierre-Yves Le Meur

    (Institute for Development Research (IRD), Nouméa)

  • Peter Hochet

    ([1] Laboratoire Citoyennetés, Ouagadougou[2] Advanced School for Social Sciences (EHESS), Marseille[3] Institute for Development Research (IRD), Ouagadougou)


Conflicts over natural resources and property concern the distribution of entitlements to resources and social identities. The highlighting of this continuity enables the insertion of conflict into a broader historical and theoretical framework dealing with social change, as well as access to and control over resources. However, this reveals nothing about the discontinuity between tensions over natural resources and outbreaks of conflict involving physical and symbolic violence. Case studies carried out in Mali and Benin provide an empirical basis for the discussion of the following set of exploratory hypotheses: they stress the continuity between conflict and property within the frame of a theory of access to natural resources; they emphasise the plurality of actors involved in disputes over natural resources in African drylands beyond the farmer–herdsman configuration; and they see resource conflict, property and policy as a matter of persuasion, that is, representation and narrative.Les conflits sur les ressources naturelles et la propriété concernent la distribution des droits sur les ressources et la définition des identités sociales. Mettre l’accent sur cette continuité permet d’insérer le conflit dans un cadre historique et théorique plus large touchant au changement social et à l’accès et au contrôle des ressources naturelles. Toutefois, cela ne dit rien de la discontinuité entre tensions sur les ressources et déclenchement de conflits impliquant une violence physique et symbolique. Des études de cas au Mali et Bénin fournissent la base de discussion d’hypothèses mettant l’accent sur la continuité entre conflit et propriété dans le cadre d’une théorie de l’accès aux ressources naturelles ; montrant la pluralité des acteurs impliqués dans les disputes sur les ressources naturelles en Afrique sèche au-delà de la polarité agriculteur-éleveur ; concevant les conflits, propriétés et politiques des ressources naturelles comme une affaire de persuasion, donc de représentation et de récit.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre-Yves Le Meur & Peter Hochet, 2010. "Property Relations by other Means: Conflict over Dryland Resources in Benin and Mali," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 22(5), pages 643-659, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:22:y:2010:i:5:p:643-659

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