Land is not only material

In her PhD research Zainab Bawa takes the standpoint that ‘land’ is a very physical and material entity, and yet there are so many levels of relationships that evolve around land: political relationships, social relationships, and cultural relationships.

These relationships keep on influencing the way in which the land is seen by various kinds of entities like governments, like the people appropriating the land, middle class citizens, people in business and industry. Bawa looks at all these complexities to argue that the construction of property, which has become the keystone of modern citizenship, actually does not work the way it has been thought of in the past. These complicated relationships actually produce a lot of avenues to negotiate and this is what keeps politics going. When a literal situation around land changes, when people move, also social economical and political relations change as well as structures of empowerment and emotional ties.