Institute of Social Anthropology
Land tenures over centuries in English and French West Africa
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Land plays a key role in the cycle of life. All over the world, its function as a natural resources provider goes hand in hand with its social and cultural function, like in burial ceremonies for instance. The transversal nature of land in human life, be it at the individual or collective level, has turned it into a thoroughly researched topic in social sciences in general and in anthropology in particular. The subject of land tenure in African cities relates to the history of colonialism. The consecutive multiple and sometimes diverging land tenures that emerged from then onwards, translated into a diversity of land tenure processes.
This presentation compares the similarities and differences surrounding land tenure in former English and former French West African cities, with a focus on Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Drawing on (gray) literature, archives and ethnographic fieldwork, the ongoing research project aims at understanding and assessing the roles and agencies of (urban) dwellers in the constant shaping of land tenures in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries in Kumasi and Bouaké.
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