Who owns it? Three arguments for land claims in latin America

Christian Barry, Gerhard Øverland

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    Abstract

    Indigenous and non-indigenous communities in Latin America make land claims and support them with a variety of arguments. Some, such as Zapatistas and the Mapuche, have appealed to the “ancestral” or “historical” connections between specific communities and the land. Other groups, such as MST in Brazil, have appealed to the extremely unequal distribution of the land and the effects of this on the poor; the land in this case is seen mainly as a means for securing a decent standard of living for members of disadvantaged groups. Although there is a large literature on the history as well as the social and political dimensions of land contestations and conflicts in Latin America, the question of whether the land claims put forward by disadvantaged groups can be morally justified has not been adequately examined. In this essay, we investigate the scope and limits of appeals to what we shall call assistance-based, contribution-based, and benefitting-based moral reasons with respect to land claims made by these disadvantaged groups.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)713-735
    Number of pages23
    JournalRevista de Ciencia Politica
    Volume37
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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