Violent conflicts over land

NAI library staff has compiled this web dossier in view of the lecture series Violent conflicts over land in contemporary Africa starting in the autumn of 2013.

It is a lecture series on the connections between access to land and violent conflict. These issues are characterized by many overlaps. Land is a multifaceted economic, political, social and cultural resource. Local conflicts over land feed into and fuel national conflicts. There is often contestation and uncertainty surrounding who owns the land, and who has the legal and legitimate authority to regulate access. More about the series on the event page.

Literature in the library

Quick links to titles in the library catalogue, AfricaLit. Links open in new window.

Other suggested keywords when searching the library catalogue:

Conflicts, Displaced persons, Ethnicity, Forced migration, Government, Identity, Land acquisition, Land economics, Mines, Mining, Politics, Urban development, Urban land, Urbanization.

Combine the keywords — with, for instance, specific countries or regions — to narrow down search results.

Browse our holdings of literature by the lecturers:
Catherine Boone, Morten Bøås, Tobias Hagmann, Anders Sjögren, Koen Vlassenroot.

See volume 83 (February 2013 ) of Africa : journal of the International African Institute, which is a special issue on "Land Politics in Africa: Constituting Authority over Territory, Property and Persons". Click for the special issue page at the Cambridge Journals website. At NAI premises you have direct access to the articles (we have it in print also). Please check the availability at your campus in case you are at another location.

Selected texts

A few selected texts to give some context to the lecture series. At NAI premises you have access to most texts mentioned below. Please check the availability at your campus in case you are at another location.

Sara Berry (2002). "Debating the Land Question in Africa", Comparative Studies in Society and History,   Vol. 44 Issue 4, October 2002, pp 638-668.

Catherine Boone (2013). "Land Regimes and the Structure of Politics: Patterns of Land-related Conflict", Africa, Vol. 83 Special Issue 1, February 2013, pp 188-203.

Christian Lund (2011). Land rights and citizenship in Africa. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet. Freely available in full text from NAI's publishing database (DiVA).

Pauline E. Peters (2004). "Inequality and Social Conflict Over Land in Africa", Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol. 4 No. 3, July 2004, pp 269-314.

Anders Sjögren (2011). "Figli della terra, signori del territorio? Politica della terra, etnicit e cittadinanza nel Bunyoro, Uganda occidentale" [Sons of the soil, masters of territory? The politics of land, ethnicity and citizenship in Bunyoro, Western Uganda], Afriche e orienti, anno XIII, n. 3-4/2011, pp. 90-106. [Not available online.]

Koen Vlassenroot (2013). Dealing with land issues and conflict in eastern Congo: towards an integrated and participatory approach, Africa Policy Brief 4, June 2013. Freely available in full text from the Egmont Institute (pdf, 0,3 MB).

NAI publications

A selection of full text NAI publications freely available via the DiVA digital archive.

Matondi, P. B. (2012). Understanding Fast Track Land Reforms in Zimbabwe. In: Zimbabwe's fast-track land reform (pp. 1-17). Nordiska Afrikainstitutet; Zed Books.

Lund, C. (2011). Land rights and citizenship in Africa. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.

Ukiwo, U. (2009). Causes and cures of oil-related Niger Delta conflicts. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.

Amanor, K. S. (2001). Land, labour and the family in southern Ghana: a critique of land policy under neo-liberalisation. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.

Moyo, S. (2000). Land reform under structural adjustment in Zimbabwe: land use change in the Mashonaland provinces. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.

Search all NAI publications in DiVA

Web resources

A selection web resources dealing with land and conflicts.

Action on Armed Violence (AOAV)
UK-based organisation working on all levels against armed violence, with several programmes active in different parts of Africa.

Afrika-Bulletin: Landkonflikte im südlichen Afrika (Pdf, 0.6 MB)
Issue no 151 (August/September 2013) of Afrika-Bulletin, published by Das Afrika-Komitee in Switzerland. (In German.)

The Conflict Barometer
Published since 1992 by The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) as an annual analysis of global conflict events. Non-violent and violent crises, wars, coup d'etats as well as peace negotiations are observed in it.

Conflicts in Africa
Facts and background information to some violent conflicts ocurring in Africa. Part of the website Global Issues by Anup Shah.

Focus on Land in Africa
Educational resource exploring land and natural resource rights in relation to development in Africa. Analysis of property rights issues in different countries and contexts. Target groups are, among others, development practitioners and policy makers. Joint inititative by several organizations.

INCORE International Conflict Research
A joint project of the United Nations University and the University of Ulster. Combines research, education and comparative analysis on conflicts and promotes conflict resolution management strategies.

Internal displacement in Africa
The IDP database offers information on background, causes of displacement, humanitarian and human rights concerns, and national and international responses. Run by the Norwegian Refugee Council's Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Geneva. ...

International Alert
An independent peacebuilding organisation working with people affected by violent conflict as well as at government, EU and UN levels to shape both policy and practice in building sustainable peace.

Konflikte und Konfliktbewältigung in Afrika (Pdf, 0.5 MB)
Online bibliography published in November 2013 by GIGA in Hamburg. (In German.)

Land Matters
Land Matters was a global conversation on Devex during September 2013 raising awareness about land rights for global development. The campaign has ended but Devex updates the feature website occasionally. Topics discussed: food security, women, environment, economic development, conflict resolution, transparency.

Landesa - Rural Development Institute
Works to secure land rights for the world’s poorest by partnering with governments, NGOs and other organizations. The website also houses the LandWise / Center for Women's Land Rights (LCWLR) resource providing access to free legal materials and articles related to women's land rights. Focus in Africa is on the sub-Saharan region.

Rights and Resources Initiative
Washington, DC-based global coalition of organizations working to encourage forest land tenure and policy reforms. Two main goals: increase the forest area under local ownership and administration, and to reduce poverty in the forested areas of the world.

Uppsala Conflict Database / UCDP Database
A free resource of information on armed conflicts of the world, by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, Uppsala University.

UN Peacemaker
An online mediation support tool for international peacemaking with an extensive databank of modern peace agreements, selected literature on various substantive peacemaking issues and other useful resources. (New users need to register.)

Even more resources in our link collection A Guide to Africa on the Internet.

Displaced persons
Forced migration
Land acquisition
Land economics
Urban development
Urban land
access to land
land management
land ownership
land reform
land rights
land tenure
land use
lecture series
violent conflict
To the top