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Land, Liberation and Compromise in Southern Africa

Chris Alden| and Ward Anseeuw
Palgrave Macmillan (29 October 2009)

Land, Liberation and Compromise in Southern Africa provides a novel framework for understanding the inherent volatility of the politics of land in contemporary Southern Africa. The link between the established political economy of settler colonialism, the role of liberation politics and the enduring impact of the transition to democracy in Southern Africa, key factors inhibiting attempts to embark on substantive agrarian reform after independence, are crucial to comprehending why the Zimbabwean crisis impacted so profoundly on regional politics. Furthermore, infusing these conditions with rhetorical and substantive power are a host of regional narratives in Southern Africa – drawn from the settler state era, the liberation struggle itself and implicit in neoliberal policies pursued by democratic governments after independence – which have shaped perceptions among elites, social groups and the wider population. By exposing the lingering contradictions in former settler states between society's heightened expectations of liberation movements and the constitutional and the ideological constraints that bind them to the past, this book offers a comprehensive regional perspective into the dynamics of the politics of land and their impact on democracy in Southern Africa.

  • Chris Alden is a reader in International Relations at LSE
  • Ward Anseeuw is a research fellow at the Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD).

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Land, Liberation and Compromise in Southern Africa