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Post-Socialist Property in Asia and Europe: Variations on 'Fuzziness'

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Sturgeon, Janet; Sikor, Thomas
Journal: Conservation & Society
Volume: 2
Date: 2004
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3516
Sector: Theory
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): property rights
transitional economics
Abstract: "This introduction contextualises the set of articles included in this issue and discusses their contribution to understanding the observed fuzziness of property in post-socialist contexts. Katherine Verdery, among others, has highlighted ambiguity, or fuzziness, as a key feature of post-socialist property relations. Property rights in practice are often quite different from the neo-liberal notion of exclusive, private property promoted in post-socialist property reforms. This introduction highlights the reasons for fuzziness identified in individual articles and contrasts them with the overlapping and flexible property relations reported from post-colonial arenas in Africa and Asia. It concludes that post socialist fuzzy property is similiar to post-colonial ambiguous property relations in many respects. The feature setting the former apart is the lack of routinized rules and crystallized practices of exclusion and inclusion (Verdery 1999: 55). The ruptures caused by large-scale economic, political and cultural trnasformations were rapid and destabilising, throwing property, identity and sozial relations up in the air, and opening up considerable room for manipulation. Local elite found themselves operating in somewhat of a vacuum and quickly asserted control over productive resources or the processes allocating them."

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