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Law and order as a development issue: Land conflicts and the creation of social order in Southern Malawi

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  • Jan Kees van Donge
  • Levi Pherani

Abstract

Registration of individual title to land in order to create legal security has been the central concern in the rich literature on land and law in Africa. The problem of legal insecurity is approached here from a different angle which has received relatively less attention: dispute settlement. The article results from the observation of land disputes in local political arenas. It portrays a local legal cultural universe in which legal insecurity arises especially from legal situations stressing group consensus. It appears that people who are accused of witchcraft and groups which are said not to belong are particularly vulnerable in such a legal culture. The conclusion argues that this case material reveals connections between law, land and the creation of social order which may throw light on many other situations. It pleads for more attention to be paid to the development of jurisprudence in attempts to create legal security.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Kees van Donge & Levi Pherani, 1999. "Law and order as a development issue: Land conflicts and the creation of social order in Southern Malawi," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 48-70.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:36:y:1999:i:2:p:48-70 DOI: 10.1080/00220389908422620
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pauline Peters, 2012. "Conflicts Over Land and Threats to Customary Tenure in Africa Today," CID Working Papers 247, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    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. Deininger, Klaus & Castagnini, Raffaella, 2006. "Incidence and impact of land conflict in Uganda," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 321-345.
    4. Francis Mwesigye & Tomoya Matsumoto & Keijiro Otsuka, 2014. "Population Pressure, Rural-to-Rural Migration and Evolution of Land Tenure Institutions: The Case of Uganda," GRIPS Discussion Papers 14-09, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
    5. Haagsma, Rein & Mouche, Pierre v., 2013. "Egalitarian norms, economic development, and ethnic polarization," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, pages 719-744.
    6. Francis Mwesigye & Tomoya Matsumoto, 2013. "Rural-rural Migration and Land Conflicts: Implications on Agricultural Productivity in Uganda," GRIPS Discussion Papers 13-17, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
    7. Pauline Peters, 2007. "Challenges in Land Tenure and Land Reform in Africa: An Anthropological Perspective," CID Working Papers 141, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    8. Mwesigye, Francis & Matsumoto, Tomoya, 2016. "The Effect of Population Pressure and Internal Migration on Land Conflicts: Implications for Agricultural Productivity in Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 25-39.

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