Land Rights, Ethno-Nationality, and Sovereignty in History

Land Rights, Ethno-Nationality, and Sovereignty in History

Land Rights, Ethno-Nationality, and Sovereignty in History

Land Rights, Ethno-Nationality, and Sovereignty in History


This work is relevant to many fields including institutional economics, political science, anthropology, sociology and social psychology.


Stanley L. EnGerman and Jacob Metzer

Land as geographical place, primary factor of production, and source of wealth has been a major component of the economic, political, and social aspects of human life, carrying with it also significant religious and cultural weight. These multifaceted attributes have made the rights to land - whether kept in collective memory, actually utilized, or sought to be realized - an instrumental factor in the formation of territorially linked collective identities and ethno-national consciousness.

The close association in history between ethno-nationality and territory involves, quite naturally, the complex and often disputed relationships between individual and group rights in land and territorial sovereignty. Indeed, disputes involving territorial control and rights to land between different nations, different ethnicities, and different religions, have characterized human societies from ancient days to the contemporary world. These disputes raise a number of interesting questions concerning the link between (exercised or struggled for) territorial control and various exclusionary land policies. Among them: the structure and functioning of land markets in which the participation of "others" (ethno-nationally, religiously, or otherwise, identified) has been restricted or barred altogether; the political and economic underpinning of such constraints; and the implications of ethnonationally restricted and segregated land markets for the allocation and utilization of resources, income distribution, and economic performance in the societies concerned.

While individual cases have been amply studied, there have been few attempts to bring together a large number of different examples to provide a basis for comparative analysis of these and related questions over time and across space. in this volume on Land Rights, Ethno-Nationality, and Sovereignty in History, we have drawn together studies dealing with a broad variety of countries, regions, and times, to indicate the widespread and diverse nature of the issues concerned, and the varying approaches and measures used to address them.

Ten of the chapters in this volume were first presented at a session on "Ethno-Nationality, Property Rights in Land and Territorial Sovereignty in Historical Perspective," at the xiii International Economic History

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