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Title: 'Shamba ni langu' (the shamba is mine) : a socio-legal study of women's claims to land in Arusha, Tanzania
Author: Dancer, Helen Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 4950
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2012
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In the aftermath of a wave of land law reforms across Africa, this thesis seeks to reorientate current debates on women's land rights towards a focus on the law in action. Since the 1970s Tanzania has been at the forefront of African countries giving statutory recognition to women's property rights and ‘equal rights' to land. Equally, ‘customary law' incorporating gender discriminatory social practices is recognised as a source of law in Tanzania's plural legal system. Centring on disputes involving women litigants in Tanzania's specialist system of land courts, this study considers the extent to which women are realising their interests in land through legal processes of dispute resolution. The starting-point for the analysis is the legal claims to land which women bring and defend themselves against in practice. The study draws upon a year of ethnographic fieldwork, including courtroom observation, archival research and interviews conducted between January 2009 and January 2010, with particular focus on two districts of Arusha region. The thesis is structured to reflect the progression of women's claims to land, from their social origins through processes of dispute resolution to judgment. The thesis explores three central issues. Firstly, it considers the nature of women's legal claims to land in family contexts, how and to what extent the issues raised are addressed by Tanzania's contemporary statutory legal framework. Secondly, it examines how agency and power relations between actors engaged in the ‘semiautonomous social field' of land courts affect women's access to justice and the progression of claims. Thirdly, it evaluates the process of doing justice and the way in which women's claims are judged by land courts in practice. Particular attention is paid to how customary practices and judicial attitudes to female land-holding are evolving with contemporary Tanzanian discourses of justice and equal rights.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: K7200 Property ; KR Africa ; KTT Tanzania