‘It is they, the elders, that have thrown away the land’ : a case study on power hierarchies in the community of Babator, Northern Ghana

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för kulturgeografi och ekonomisk geografi; Lunds universitet/LUMID International Master programme in applied International Development and Management

Abstract: In a global context of proliferating land-based investments, growing demographic pressure, and increasing urbanization, this thesis investigates a case of large-scale land acquisition (LSLA) in Babator, Norther Ghana. The objective is to provide a better understanding of how local power structures within affected communities influence the outcome of LSLAs. In particular, it focuses on patterns of conflict and cooperation and customary power hierarchies to determine who are the winners and the losers. The methods employed are focus group interviews, key informant interviews, participant observations and go-along walks. The analytical framework is informed by previous research on the topic and is of help in visualizing the context, the interactions of the various actors as well as the power sources affecting such interactions. The study reveals that patterns of conflict have negatively impacted the land acquisition at its initial phase, but examples of cooperation are present too. The research also shows that power hierarchies having their sources in traditional authority, bureaucratic influence, access to knowledge and local business expertise, social identity and social relations, and control over the development agenda, have decisively impacted the community both in the pre-acquisition and post-acquisition phase.

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