Enclosing the commons

Predatory capital and forced evictions in Papua New Guinea and Burma

Authored by: Penny Green , Kristian Lasslett , Angela Sherwood

The Routledge Handbook on Crime and International Migration

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415823944
eBook ISBN: 9780203385562
Adobe ISBN: 9781135924331


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In many parts of the developing world the processes of capital accumulation and neoliberal legal reform are driving land enclosure movements and coercive practices of land dispossession. Performed in the name of economic growth or national development, the exclusion of people from valuable land resources and their forced displacement to marginal spaces constitutes an unrecognized category of harm against poorer communities in developing societies. From Africa to Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, rural and urban citizens alike are facing the ‘enclosure of the commons’, a process of elite-driven land privatization that strips them of customary use rights and traditional title. Displacement of rural and urban populations often follows, enacted through forced evictions behind which stands a range of illicit transactions and state violence.

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