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Politically allocated land rights and the geography of electoral violence: the case of Kenya in the 1990s

Boone, Catherine ORCID: 0000-0001-5324-7814 (2011) Politically allocated land rights and the geography of electoral violence: the case of Kenya in the 1990s. Comparative Political Studies, 44 (10). pp. 1311-1342. ISSN 0010-4140

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0010414011407465


Large literatures in political theory and political economy argue that private property regimes help support liberal electoral regimes by constraining majoritarian politics, lowering the stakes of elections, and protecting “fundamental” or minority rights. This article probes implications of this argument for elections in sub-Saharan Africa, a mostly rural continent where only about 2% to 10% of all rural property (by country) is held under private title. Do Africa’s rural property regimes shape electoral dynamics and, if so, which ones, and how? This article examines the case of Kenya, focusing on 1991-1992 electoral dynamics in rural zones in which the state itself has exercised direct prerogative over land allocation. We show that in these zones, politicians manipulated land rights to mobilize supporters and punish opponents. They did so in ways that contributed directly to widespread land-related violence at election time. References to other African cases help generalize and set scope conditions on the argument.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 SAGE Publications
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2013 14:36
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:21

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