Mapping the terrain of tenure reform: the rural landholdings project of Cote d'Ivoire

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This paper examines the use of maps as technocratic tools to redefine land rights systems in northern Cote d'Ivoire. The case study of the World Bank-funded Rural Landholdings Project in the Niofouin region provides insights into how maps are used to initiate a transition from community-based landholding systems to private, individual arrangements. In the World Bank's view, this transition is fundamental for the intensification of agricultural production. The focus of the case study is on the construction of village landholding maps, the ideological nature of the process, and the role of maps in changing the conditions of land access and control. One of the unique attributes of maps is that they create ownership at a location. This is achieved partly through the process of selection and omission of specific rights in land and partly through the authoritative nature of maps. The power of maps in this project lies in their capacity to fabricate new realities while making it appear they are faithfully representing existing conditions. Maps are shown to possess a momentum of their own in changing the terrain of indigenous land rights systems. -Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-146
Number of pages19
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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