TRANSFORMATIONS ON THE GROUND, space and the power of land in Botswana

: Griffiths (A.)

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192pp., illus., maps, paperback, Bloomington, 2019. 


Draws on archival research, legal records, fieldwork, and interviews with five generations of family members in the village of Molepolole in Botswana. Anne Griffiths considers the ways in which power "affects the collision of global with local concerns over access to land and control over its use." from the back cover

"Botswana is a darling of international donors and regularly praised as an upwardly mobile, prosperous and successful country. At the same time, it is characterized by poverty and exclusion, especially of women. In her insightful case study on land politics, Anne Griffiths effectively contrasts the image of a coherent state against myriad realities and confusion of competences on the ground. Based on decades of ethnographic fieldwork, this book masterfully demonstrates how in the realm of land and law, international, national, regional and local domains intersect and overlap, and come into conflict with one another." Andreas Eckert, Humboldt University Berlin

"Anne Griffiths' ambitious and original book reveals how the 'global' is always situated in specific places and times through her insightful analysis of how land in Botswana has figured in practices, policy and politics from the standpoints of household, family, village, district, national and international levels. Griffiths' astute use of political and legal history, legal documents, observation of statutory and customary law settings, multi-generational life histories and detailed ethnography enable her to provide a rich and informative account that goes well beyond the mantra of 'the global in the local'. While insisting on foregrounding 'the voices, perceptions, and experiences of people's relationships with land', Griffiths shows how these interact with national politics, policies, laws and legal practice and with the effects of international and global agencies and processes to produce inequality and class differences, despite some improvement in gendered patterns of land entitlement." Pauline Peters, Faculty Associate, Harvard Kennedy School and Center for African Studies

Before her retirement Anne Griffiths held the personal chair in Anthropology of Law at the School of Law, Edinburgh University. She is the author of In the Shadow of Marriage: gender and justice in an African community.