Property's relationality in the Colombian Land Restitution Policy

Authors: Natalia Perez*, Simon Fraser University
Topics: Legal Geography, Latin America, South America
Keywords: Property, land, relationality, race, Colombia
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Washington 1, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Struggles about who controls, owns, uses and benefits from the relation between land and humans and, ultimately, about what ‘land is’, are still prominent across the development/colonial divide. In the Americas, indigenous and Latin American critical scholarships have increasingly situated land struggles as manifestations of ongoing processes of racialization that were set in motion at the onset of colonialism (Coulthard 2014, Mollet 2016, Moreton-Robinson 2014, Quijano 2000, Mignolo 2007). Additionally, in theorizing on the rejection of modern/Western conceptualizations of land as a “thing”, a “commodity”, or as a “natural resource” that underlines indigenous and other marginalized rural communities land struggles, these scholarships are contributing to dislodge the ontological divide between land, typically conceived as an object, and the human and other than human forms of life “it” sustains (Blaser et al. 2009, de la Cadena 2008, Blaser 2010, Escobar 2010, 2012, Coulthard 2014, Tuck and Yang 2012, Rivera-Cusicanqui 2012). Property is often invoked as both the cause and the solution to land struggles. This paper draws from relational property theory, critical race scholarship and performative theory to introduce an analytical framework to property in land that seeks to prevent premature foreclosures of the multiplicity of relations that are intrinsic to property, and to highlight property in land as a site of epistemic and ontological conflicts (Blaser 2010 2013, De la Cadena 2015, Escobar 2010, Tuck et al. 2014). In so doing, it opens avenues for forms of legal practice that contribute to protect marginalized and racialized populations from land grabbing.

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