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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Re-theorising and re-conceptualising land, sovereignty, socio-economic rights and responsibility in the context of pan-Africanism and African renaissance in the 21st century
Author:Gutto, Shadrack B.O.ISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Renaissance Studies (ISSN 1753-7274)
Geographic term:Africa
land reform
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/18186874.2014.916855
Abstract:Land, which in a broader understanding is the Earth within the Universe, is grossly under-conceptualised and under-theorised in the prevailing mainstream or dominant paradigms under capitalism, imperialism and neo-colonialism. Land is often subsumed in the generic concept of property, thus making it a mere commodity in market economies or market economic thinking. In African epistemology land means much, much more: land is the basis of all life on earth and there can be no life, human life included, that can be detached from land. Epistemological terms such as 'Mother Land', 'Mother Earth', 'Mother Africa', 'Holy Land', 'Promised Land', 'Daughter/Son of the Soil', etc., express the centrality of land for people all over the world. Land is not only the material and spiritual basis of life for individual human beings but is also an essential component of the means of social production and reproduction, and statehood. Because of this, it stands to reason that in re-conceptualising and re-theorising land it is imperative also to rethink the concept and the theory of sovereignty? in other words, does sovereignty apply to the people or citizens of a country as a whole and/or the state? A new thinking about land and the state in relation to land, as presented in this article, can lead to re-negotiating the role of the state in society while at the same time empowering the people to assume greater demand on the control and sustainable development and use of resources that constitute land. The article introduces some of the current popular discourses in the media and in scholarly works on the issues of land, land reform and social contestations and then proceeds to present a critical reflection on why the pursuit of pan-Africanism and African renaissance in the 21st Century require decolonising knowledge on and about land. It puts land rights at the centre of human and peoples' rights and freedoms and, by doing so, critiques the dominant contemporary superficial conceptualisation and theorisation of socioeconomic rights. Indeed, constitutions of the new states in Africa do not entrench land as a common heritage of the citizens and permanent residents. Essentially the article is constructing what the author wishes to call 'The Wangari-Maathaist conception and theory of land' and its centrality to life. This is in honour of the late Professor Dr Wangari Muta Maathai, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 in recognition of her intellectualism and social activism for genuine democracy and practical approach to championing environmental protection in Kenya and the rest of the world. In her conception and social action, land and land issues are about all land, rural and urban. The two are interrelated and interdependent. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]