Space, History and Agrarian Transformation in Malawi

(di Davide Chinigò)  (abstract)


The article digs into the debate about the historical relationship between agrarian transformation and state formation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The article adopts the analytical lens of space, regarded as a constitutive and dynamic dimension constantly shaping and being shaped by different symbolic and material understandings of the state. By discussing the debate about land reform in Malawi since the late colonial period, I argue that the state is embedded in space as much as it is embedded in specific views of history. Contemporary dynamics of change are informed by the mutual interdependence between space and history and the extent to which these elements manifest in symbolic, material and discursive acts reflect different conceptualizations of the state. The paper concludes that contemporary processes of social, economic and political exclusion and inclusion in Malawi are inscribed in historic-spatial dynamics that are both cause and consequence of current understandings of state failure and formation.

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