Justice for the Poor? An Exploratory Study of Collective Grievances Over Land and Local Governance in Cambodia

90 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2007 Last revised: 1 May 2015

See all articles by Daniel Adler

Daniel Adler

BA, LLB

Kristina Chhim

Center for Advanced Study

Path Heang

World Bank

Sochanny Hak

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Ketya Sou

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kimvan Heng

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: October 1, 2006

Abstract

The Cambodian land law has been rewritten twice in the past 20 years, firstly with the transition to a market economy in the early 1990s and then with the passing of a new land law in 2001. Despite these efforts at regulatory reform, land disputes are a major social, political and economic problem. This paper represents the result of a series of case studies on land disputes analyzed in the light previous scholarship dealing with issues of power and social structure in Cambodian villages. In trying to generate a more nuanced understanding of the ways in which power is exercised in rural Cambodia the paper looks specifically at collective grievances. This choice is informed by the possibility that collective action will offer an opportunity for the otherwise weak to extract greater responsiveness and accountability from the state. The paper's key findings relate to the existence of multiple rule systems for land management; the propensity for the tension between law and practice in land management to cause disputes; and the problematic nature of the attempt to skip to Weber - that is to impose legal/rational forms of authority on social relations which are structured around patrimonial power. In the absence of equitable rule based systems for allocating resources and resolving disputes the study concludes that political mobilization will be a necessary precursor to the success of rights based strategies.

Keywords: Law, land, governance, collective action, Cambodia

JEL Classification: Q15, P20

Suggested Citation

Adler, Daniel and Chhim, Kristina and Heang, Path and Hak, Sochanny and Sou, Ketya and Heng, Kimvan, Justice for the Poor? An Exploratory Study of Collective Grievances Over Land and Local Governance in Cambodia (October 1, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=983317 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.983317

Kristina Chhim

Center for Advanced Study ( email )

Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia
Vietnam

HOME PAGE: http://www.cascambodia.org/

Path Heang

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Sochanny Hak

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Ketya Sou

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Kimvan Heng

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
346
Abstract Views
1,480
rank
124,689
PlumX Metrics