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“Squatting” as a Strategy for Land Settlement and Sustainable Development

  • Jean Besson
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)

Abstract

Informal occupation or “squatting” is an escalating phenomenon in the postcolonial world. As Robert Home and Hilary Lim observed in 2004, “The millions of people in the world who lack access to land where they can find secure shelter present a great global challenge to law, governance and civil society. About half of the world’s population (three billion people) now live in urban areas, and nearly a billion are estimated to be living in informal, illegal settlements, mostly in the urban and peri-urban areas of less developed countries.”1 At the turn of the millennium, Hernando de Soto argued that such poverty can only be reduced by replacing customary land tenure with legal property rights,2 and (as Home and Lim summarize) that such property rights “are the hidden infrastructure that can help achieve sustainable development goals.”3

Keywords

Land Settlement Indigenous Knowledge Caribbean Region Sacred Site Squat Settlement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Robert Home and Hilary Lim, “Introduction: Demystifying The Mystery of Capital,’ ” in Robert Home and Hilary Lim (eds.), Demystifying the Mystery of Capital: Land Tenure and Poverty in Africa and the Caribbean (London: Cavendish, 2004), 1. Informal occupation is also found in the so-called First World; e.g., in 2005 a London Borough Council evicted squatters (including a Rastafarian) after a 30-year dispute over the informal occupation of council housing (BBC TV News, November 29, 2005). Likewise, in 2006, a court ruling evicted Irish “travelers” or gypsies from council property in Yorkshire, England (BBC TV News, March 8, 2006).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else (London: Black Swan, 2000).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Sidney W. Mintz, “Enduring Substances, Trying Theories: The Caribbean Region as Oikoumenê,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 2, no. 2 (1996): 289–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 5.
    Vandana Desai and Robert B. Potter (eds.), The Companion to Development Studies (London: Arnold, 2002), 241.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Charisse Griffith-Charles, “Trinidad: We Are Not Squatters, We Are Settlers,” in Home and Lim (eds.), Demystifying the Mystery of Capital, 99–119; Jimmy Tindigarukayo, “The Squatter Problem in Jamaica,” Social and Economic Studies 51, no. 4 (2002): 95–125Google Scholar
  6. Helen I. Safa, The Urban Poor of Puerto Rico (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974)Google Scholar
  7. Michel S. Laguerre, Urban Poverty in the Caribbean (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990)Google Scholar
  8. Robert B. Potter, The Urban Caribbean in an Era of Global Change (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000)Google Scholar
  9. M. Watson and R. Potter, Low-Cost Housing in Barbados (Barbados: University of the West Indies Press, 2001).Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    Sidney W. Mintz, “The Caribbean as a Socio-Cultural Area,” in Michael M. Horowitz (ed.), Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean (Garden City: Natural History Press, 1971), 38.Google Scholar
  11. 9.
    Sidney W. Mintz, Caribbean Transformations (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), 146–179Google Scholar
  12. Richard Price (ed.), Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas. 3rd ed. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996)Google Scholar
  13. Jean Besson, Martha Brae’s Two Histories: European Expansion and Caribbean Culture-Building in Jamaica (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002)Google Scholar
  14. 10.
    Jean Besson, “Religion as Resistance in Jamaican Peasant Life,” in Barry Chevannes (ed.), Rastafari and Other African-Caribbean Worldviews, Institute of Social Studies (The Hague and London: Macmillan, 1995), 43–76Google Scholar
  15. 11.
    Allan N. Williams (ed.), Land in the Caribbean: Proceedings of a Workshop on Land Policy, Administration and Management in the English-Speaking Caribbean (Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Land Tenure Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, March 19–21, 2003).Google Scholar
  16. 14.
    For example, Jean Besson, “Caribbean Common Tenures and Capitalism: The Accompong Maroons of Jamaica,” Plantation Society in the Americas IV, nos. 2 and 3 (1997): 201–232Google Scholar
  17. Jean Besson, “The Appropriation of Lands of Law by Lands of Myth in the Caribbean Region,” in Allen Abramson and Dimitris Theodossopoulos (eds.), Land, Law and Environment: Mythical Land, Legal Boundaries (London: Pluto Press, 2000), 116–135; Besson, Martha Brae’s Two Histories; Besson, “Sacred Sites, Shifting Histories.”Google Scholar
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    Mavis C. Campbell, The Maroons of Jamaica 1655–1796: A History of Resistance, Collaboration and Betrayal (Trenton: Africa World Press, 1990), 127, 181–183.Google Scholar
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    The whipping of the maroons was carried out by a runaway slave in the presence of slaves, which exacerbated the humiliation of the maroons. Carey Robinson, The Fighting Maroons of Jamaica (Kingston, Jamaica: Collins and Sangster, 1969), 82.Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    David Barker and Balfour Spence, “Afro-Caribbean Agriculture: A Jamaican Maroon Community in Transition,” Geographical Journal 154, no. 2 (1988): 198–208; Besson, “Caribbean Common Tenures and Capitalism.”CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 27.
    Claus Stolberg and Swithin Wilmot (eds.), Plantation Economy, Land Reform and the Peasantry in a Historical Perspective: Jamaica 1838–1980 (Kingston, Jamaica: Friedrich Ebert Siftung, 1992); Besson, “The Appropriation of Lands of Law”; Besson, Transformations of Freedom.Google Scholar
  22. 42.
    Jean Besson and Janet Momsen (eds.), Land and Development in the Caribbean (London: Macmillan, 1987)Google Scholar
  23. Trevor W. Purcell, “Indigenous Knowledge and Applied Anthropology: Questions of Definition and Direction,” Human Organization 57, no. 3 (1998): 258–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Paul Sillitoe, Alan Bicker, and Johan Pottier (eds.), Participating in Development: Approaches to Indigenous Knowledge (London: Routledge, 2002). Besson and Momsen (eds.), Land and Development in the Caribbean; Purcell, “Indigenous Knowledge and Applied Anthropology.”Google Scholar
  25. 43.
    Sidney W. Mintz, “On the Concept of a Third World,” Dialectical Anthropology 1 (1976): 377–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Jean Besson and Janet Momsen 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Besson

There are no affiliations available

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