Property theory and land-use analysis: an essay in the political economy of ideas
Hastings, W. O.
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This paper is concerned with one issue only. It argues that the development of adequate theory for social science research in Africa must be predicated on a proper appreciation of the social foundations of the conceptual and methodological tools we have inherited from Western or other bodies of social science. We need to do this in order to determine the suitability of these ideas to specific analytical tasks in our societies. The paper then proceeds to examine this argument in relation to law and land use analysis. The conclusion reached is that existing 'legal' and 'social' theories of law do not offer an adequate framework for the analysis of land relations in African societies. It therefore calls for more systematic investigation in this regard and, more particularly, the search for alternative forms of clarifying legal relations not only in the narrow sphere of land relations but more generally in society.