Powers of Exclusion: Land Dilemmas in Southeast Asia
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320pp. August 2011
Powers of Exclusion: Land Dilemmas in Southeast Asia
Author: Hall, Derek; Hirsch, Philip; Li, Tania Murray;
Questions of who can access land and who is excluded from it underlie many recent social and political conflicts in Southeast Asia. Powers of Exclusion examines the key processes through which shifts in land relations are taking place, notably state land allocation and provision of property rights, the dramatic expansion of areas zoned for conservation, booms in the production of export-oriented crops, the conversion of farmland to post-agrarian uses, “intimate” exclusions involving kin and co-villagers, and mobilizations around land framed in terms of identity and belonging. In case studies drawn from seven countries, the authors find that four “powers of exclusion”—regulation, the market, force and legitimation—have combined to shape land relations in new and often surprising ways.

Land debates are often presented as a conflict between market-oriented land use with full private property rights on the one side, and equitable access, production for subsistence, and respect for custom on the other. The authors step back from these debates to point out that any productive use of land requires the exclusion of some potential users, and that most projects for transforming land relations are thus accompanied by painful dilemmas. Rather than counterposing “exclusion” to “inclusion,” the book argues that attention must be paid to who is excluded, how, why, and with what consequences.

Powers of Exclusion is a path-breaking book that draws on insights from multiple disciplines to map out the new contours of struggles for land in Southeast Asia. The volume provides a framework for analyzing the dilemmas of land relations across the Global South and beyond.

For sale only in the U.S., its dependencies, Canada, and Mexico

Powers of Exclusion combines the insights of scholars from three different fields: Derek Hall (political economy), Philip Hirsch (human geography) and Tania Murray Li (anthropology). Each of the authors brought extensive experience in Southeast Asia to the project. Their collaboration has produced an excellent book that serves as an enquiry into current land issues in the region. Through detailed examples and illustrations, they examine the poignant and timely issues of access to and exclusion from land. . . . Powers of Exclusion is an outstanding read with keen insights on processes of exclusion in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, many of which can be generalized to other areas of the world. Hall et al. are to be commended for writing an accessible, empirically rich and conceptually instructive book that will be of tremendous use to those interested in researching and teaching issues of land, access, exclusion, social relations and social differentiation.” —Antipode (September 2012)

"The result is remarkably coherent and potently argued. . . . The reviewer can offer only praise for a work of nuanced analysis." –New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies

“[This] book is a ‘must read’ for doctoral candidates and senior scholars concerned with the processes that continuously re-configure land relations and re-define ecological, economic, and socio-political conditions.” —Journal of Peasant Studies (39:1, March 2012)
Author: Hall, Derek; Hirsch, Philip; Li, Tania Murray;
Derek Hall is associate professor in the Department of Political Science and the Balsillie School of International Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University. Philip Hirsch is professor of human geography in the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney and director of the Australian Mekong Resource Centre. Tania Murray Li is professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and Canada Research Chair in the Culture and Political-Economy of Asia.



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