The value of land
Judith Bovensiepen (University of Kent )
Almut Schneider (Goethe University Frankfurt and Free University of Bolzano)
Hans Steinmuller (London School of Economics)
James Leach and Christian Lund
Start time:
11 December, 2008 at 8:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

What are the different ways in which people attribute value to land? The panel will explore how people construct the value of land, how this value is appropriated and how claims to land ownership are made based on these divergent concepts.

Long abstract:

The panel will examine how people attribute value to land and how rights to land and land ownership are deduced as a result of this. There are different ways in which the value of land can be constructed: value may be seen as an intrinsic or "natural" characteristic of land; it may be a result of human activity and labour or of ancestral relations with the land; the value of land may derive from the connection between sites in the landscape and supernatural forces or it may be created through legal and economic evaluations by national governments or national and international companies. The aim is to investigate practices of appropriation and ownership through an analysis of different conceptualisations of the value of land. Under what conditions are land and people considered inseparable and hence land inalienable? And when is land perceived to be alienable and subject to commoditisation? The panel's main goal is to discuss local perceptions about the value of land, how and by whom value is created and appropriated, as well as how local claims to land interact with corporate and government interests. We aim at a discussion and evaluation of existing theories of property relations and land ownership on the basis of ethnographically informed contributions.