Powers of Exclusion: Land Dilemmas in Southeast Asia

By Derek Hall, Philip Hirsch and Tania Murray Li


Released 2011, National University of Singapore Press

Questions of who can access land and who is excluded from it underlie many recent social and political conflicts in Southeast Asia. Powers of Exclusion examines the key processes through which shifts in land relations are taking place, notably state land allocation and provision of property rights, the dramatic expansion of areas zoned for conservation, booms in the production of export-oriented crops, the conversion of farmland to post-agrarian uses, “intimate” exclusions involving kin and co-villagers, and mobilizations around land farmed in terms of identity and belonging. In case studies drawn from seven countries, the authors find that four “powers of exclusion” – regulation, market, force and legitimation – have combined to shape land relations in new and often surprising ways.

Land debates are often presented as a conflict between market-oriented land use with full private property rights on one side, and equitable access, production for subsistence, and respect for custom on the other. The authors step back from these debates to point out that any productive use of land requires the exclusion of some potential users, and that most projects for transforming land relations are thus accompanied by painful dilemmas. Rather than counterposing “exclusion” to “inclusion”, the book argues that attention must be paid to who is excluded, how, why, and with what consequences.

Powers of Exclusion draws on insights from multiple disciplines to map out the new contours of struggles for land in Southeast Asia. The volume provides a framework for analyzing the dilemmas of land relations across the Global South and beyond.

Click here to view the Powers of Exclusion book flyer


Review by Jim Glassman (2012). Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 102(3): 733-735

Review by Wendy Wolford (2012). Authors Meet Critics, AAG February 28, 2012

Review by Rodd Myers (2012). Antipod: Radical Journal of Geography

Review by Marion Kastenhofer (2013). ASEAS – Österreichische Zeitschrift für Südostasienwissenschaften 6(1): 228-231

Review by Craig Thorburn (2013). Geographical Research 51(1):106–112

Review by Joanna Heathcote (2013). Canadian Journal of Development Studies / Revue canadienne d’études du développement, 34(1): 140-142

Review by A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi (2012). Journal of Agrarian Change12(4): 611–627.

Review by Ian Baird (2012). Journal of Asian Studies71(2): 581-583

Review by Erik Harms. Journal of Lao Studies, 3(1): 132-134

Review by Esteve Corbera (2012). Journal of Peasant Studies, 39(1): 221-225

Review by Pamela McElwee (2012). Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 43(3): 545-547

Review by Jonathan Rigg (2013). Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 44(2): 338-344

Review by Duncan McDuie-Ra (2015). Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 56(1): 182–187

Review by Keith Barney (2012). New Mandala

Review by Carl Middleton (2012). Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 33(2): 278–281 


Review by Ahmad Nashih Luthfi (2013). bhumi: Journal Ilmiah Petanahan PPPM -STPN. PDF


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s