Nine-Tenths of the Law


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Enduring Dispossession in Indonesia

Christian Lund

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An exploration of the relationship between possession and legalization across Indonesia, and how people navigate dispossession

?The old aphorism “possession is nine-tenths of the law” is particularly relevant in Indonesia, which has seen a string of regime changes and a shifting legal landscape for property claims. Ordinary people struggle to legalize their possessions and claim rights in competition with different branches of government, as well as police, army, and private gangs. This book explores the relationship between possession and legalization across Indonesia, examining the imaginative and improvisational interpretations of law by which Indonesians navigate dispossession.

Christian Lund heads the global development section at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Food and Resource Economics. He is the author of Law, Power, and Politics in Niger and Local Politics and the Dynamics of Property in Africa.

“Christian Lund provides a brilliant account of how law, force and authority are mobilized to create and obliterate property rights in land. Written with exceptional clarity and passion.”—Tania Murray Li, author of Land’s End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenou Frontier

“Why do people pursue legalizing claims if the law does not live up to its promise to offer enduring predictability? Lund offers profound insights in this fundamental paradox of law.”—Keebet von Benda-Beckmann, co-author of Political and Legal Transformations of an Indonesian Polity

Nine-Tenths of the Law is a deeply original analysis of land property relations. It is one of the best books I’ve read on the pressing contemporary social issues of property, citizenship, dispossession, law, and social movements. A tour de force!”—Jun Borras, International Institute of Social Studies

"Lund maps out the conceptual and empirical frontier of a new legal anthropology. Nine-Tenths of the Law puts property in its place among other social and political elements of possession. Beautifully written and continuously enlightening!"—Jesse Ribot, American University

Nine-Tenths of the Law is a very important contribution to an emerging debate on citizenship in the postcolonial world, deftly connecting literatures on postcolonial law, citizenship, and anthropologies of the state."—Gerry van Klinken, author of Postcolonial Citizenship in Provincial Indonesia

Nine-Tenths of the Law reflects the realities and experiences of those dealing with issues of land property, agrarian conflict, legalization, and corruption. I strongly recommend this intriguing and contemporary book.”—Professor Sulistyowati Irianto, Faculty of Law, Universitas Indonesia

“Far from settled, land tenure is a dynamic, perilous, and seductive social process. Lund reveals the thrilling complexities through which property claims, resistance, and law itself take on practical meaning in Indonesia.”—­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jeremy M. Campbell, author of Conjuring Property: Speculation and Environmental Futures in the Brazilian Amazon

Nine-Tenths of the Law is a timely contribution in Indonesian contemporary politics. It explores pressing agrarian matters, using a socio-legal approach, and writing from a state capacity point of view. A very comprehensive way to understand a complex issue" —Amalinda Savirani, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia

Nine-Tenths of the Law offers a ground-breaking and multi-dimensional understanding of the ways property is configured in relationships of power, land, and urbanization.”—Duncan McDuie-Ra, author of Borderland City in New India: Frontier to Gateway
ISBN: 9780300251074
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
264 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
9 b/w illus.
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