Governing Land and People in the Global South

Thu January 31st 2019, 3:30pm
Y2E2, Room 299
Presenter:  Tania Li

Since colonial times, experts have intervened in relations between land and people to achieve various ends, notably to regulate land and forest uses, to extract resources for revenue and profit, and to improve the livelihoods of indigenous populations. Competing priorities often mean that schemes for intervention run at cross-purposes, and native welfare is often sacrificed as a result. Alongside their familiar role as advocates for the dispossessed, anthropologists are well positioned to analyze modes of government (their diagnoses and prescriptions, their constitutive exclusions), and the effects that particular interventions have when they hit the ground.  Taking the example of Indonesia’s contemporary land reform, I will explore the limits of expert schemes, and demonstrate the value of the grounded insights anthropologists can supply.