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Determinants, Consequences and Perspectives of Land Reform Politics in Newly Industrializing Countries

A Comparison of the Indian and the South African Case


David Betge

This comparative case study addresses central determinants of inequalities that persist in India and South Africa. The particular focus of the study is on programs aiming at the redistribution of land to the landless poor and these programs’ consequences. The central question is why extreme inequalities persist despite land redistribution programs that have been in place for decades and what role different actors and dominant ideas play in this. Beyond this empirical focus, the study transcends theoretical cleavages in the social sciences by following the basic ideas of Giddens’ Structurational Theory. An actor-centred approach is chosen as the primary tool for analysis. It is complemented with a structurational approach to discourse analysis for a detailed analysis of actors’ preferences.

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Chapter Six: Analysing land related interactions on the ground in South Africa


Both this and the following chapter focus on interactions around land and agriculture on the regional and local level in the context of two provinces/States. These two chapters finalise the assessment of hypothesis one by analysing the specific regional institutional setting and actors’ preferences regarding land redistribution and agricultural development.

Assessing the specific regional setting is the basis for analysing the actor constellations on the ground and understanding regional particularities possibly diverging from the national level. The two chapters also serve to contextualise the implementation of land reforms within the meta-institutional setting. The analysis of the preferences of regional actors relating to agriculture and land reforms establishes how far the related arguments reflect global norms. The degree of export orientation, the relevance of FDI and the activities of TNCs are taken into account as aspects indicating the impact of global trade rules on the regional institutional setting. Finally, hypothesis three is assessed through analysing the interactions of actors involved in land transactions. The hypothesis proposes, that while the most relevant target groups are structurally disadvantaged vis-à-vis actors opposing land redistribution or competing for land, these disadvantages are not compensated by the policies and legislation on land reforms, which essentially defeats the purpose of the land reform programme. This shapes the actor constellations and modes of interaction in a way that further disadvantages the target groups. The aim of this chapter is to explore this claim. To this end, official data on land reform implementation, interviews...

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