African Studies Seminar: The Social Dimensions of Land Rights Reform in Liberia


Conveners: Miles Larmer and Zoe Cormack

Speaker: David Brown (Oxford)

This seminar is concerned with policy coherence in a post-conflict society, Liberia. It examines the challenges faced in attempting to develop public policy in ways that both respond to progressive thinking and protect the interests of the poor. This theme is illustrated using recent land legislation, notably the 2013 Land Rights Policy and the 2016 Land Rights Bill.  The presentation explores the ways in which pressures for reform of customary governance and gender relations impinge on existing institutions for land management, and may affect the ability of the poor to defend their interests in the face of the invasion of external capital.

David Brown is a Research Associate of the School of Anthropology. He was formerly a Research Fellow and Senior Research Associate of the Overseas Development Institute in London, specialising in the social dimensions of forest and environmental policy in the tropics. His doctoral research, undertaken in the mid-1970s, was on local-level politics in Liberia (University of Manchester), and he has continued to work there, most recently as a recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Emeritus Fellowship. He is the author of four books and over eighty academic and policy papers, including (on Liberia) in journals such as: AfricaAfrican AffairsJournal of Modern African StudiesPublic Administration and Development, and Development Policy Review.