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The Scramble for Maasailand: Age, Gender and Class in the Case of No Precedents

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Kipuri, Naomi Ole
Conference: Common Property Conference, the Second Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Conf. Date: September 26-30, 1991
Date: 1991
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/566
Sector: Grazing
Land Tenure & Use
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
land tenure and use
Maasai (African people)
indigenous institutions
Abstract: "Like most African pastoralists, the Maasai of East Africa held natural resources of the range on a communal basis. Access was assumed by virtue of membership to a given territory. "In the 1960's however, following the spread of capitalism to the region, the government introduced legislation allowing the adjudication of the range and allocation of portions to groups and individuals for exclusive use. General guidelines were provided for subdivision but these were inadequate and unclear. Coupled with this was the absence of cultural precedents to provide appropriate methods of distribution. Consequently, the allocation of land turned into a scramble characterized largely by fraudulence and a conflation of indigenous categories of age and gender aided by the emergent class structure. "This paper examines the process in historical perspective and discusses; a) the rationale behind the adoption of alternative land tenure systems according to official Kenyan State Policies. b) the limitations of the guidelines in the provision of viable methods of distribution, c) "Cultural" responses to the exercise and their relevance to indigenous categories of age and gender; and d) the significance of the scramble in the concretization of class relations both the within Maasai community and in the wider Kenyan society."

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