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Political Mediation of Land Conflicts in the Hinterlands

Political Mediation of Land Conflicts in the Hinterlands

(p.86) Chapter 4 Political Mediation of Land Conflicts in the Hinterlands
Democracy in the Woods
Prakash Kashwan
Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the structures of political intermediation — venues that facilitate the engagement of peasant groups and social movements in political and policy processes — in India, Tanzania, and Mexico. Departing from standard characterizations of peasant corporatism, this chapter shows that the dominant political parties’ decisions to invest significant resources for the establishment and maintenance of systems of political intermediation is indicative of substantial political mobilization of popular constituencies in the presence of inter-elite competition, which has occurred in Mexico. Tanzania has not experienced these conditions, while India witnessed the emergence of such a political opportunity structure in the first decade of the new millennium; this explains the noticeable recent successes of the country’s forest and land rights movements. As such, even though this chapter focuses on cross-national analysis, a brief analysis of inter-temporal differences within countries also supports the argument that political intermediation structures are crucial for facilitating institutional change.

Keywords:   political process, structures of intermediation, dominant party, corporatism, congress, land conflicts, Lázaro Cárdenas, Indira Gandhi, Julius Nyerere

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