property and citizenship in developing societies

The Research Unit investigates the process of state formation and fragmentation in developing societies. We study this apparently incongruous process through a focus on local politics and the social production of property and citizenship.

Conventional state theories, modeled after developed societies, see state institutions as a source of hegemony. We investigate how hegemonic struggles over the power to determine the parameters of property and citizenship create moments of sovereignty and form different institutions with state quality. It is in the creation of the political delineations of two fundamental aspects of social life: what we can have, and who we are - property and citizenship - that state quality is produced.

The focus is the political, social and developmental consequences where states have limited empirical sovereignty and where states have been forced to cede ground to competing non-state forms of authority. We undertake field research in rural, peri-urban and urban contexts in Benin, Ghana, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines and Zimbabwe.

Funding has been made available by the Danish Social Science Research Council; the Universities of Copenhagen and Roskilde and the Research and Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims.

Updated January 2017