The central objective of this working paper produced by Jean-Christophe Diepart and Thol Sem, is to examine the recognition and formalisation of peasants’ land rights against the backdrop of Cambodian history and political economy of land and agrarian change.
It aims to understand how colonialism, war, socialism and the regional integration against a neoliberal background have shaped the land rights of smallholder farmers in contemporary Cambodia.
The central argument is essentially geographical. It suggest that legal rules and operational tools of land reform have been spatially differentiated between the lowland central plain and the peripheral uplands although both regions are closely linked through land-driven migration movements.
We show how these contradictions have yielded problematic results for the Cambodian peasantry.
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