“Forestry officials don't have any land or rights here”: Authority of politico-legal institutions along Ghana's charcoal commodity chain
Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article › Research › peer-review
Property theory suggests that in legal pluralist societies people secure rights to resources by seeking out institutions that can sanction and validate their claims. This validation legitimates their property claims. Simultaneously, the institutions build and solidify their authority as property-granting entities vis-à-vis competing authorities. In Ghana the charcoal commodity chain involves rights recognized by both formal and customary institutions. A detailed study of property and authority in the context of Ghana's charcoal chain is done by focusing on institutions that mediate people's access to resources, how these institutions mediate access, and how the authority of institutions has changed over time. This study shows how chiefs, having no legal mandate in trees, are gaining authority over Ghana's charcoal production. Chiefs' authority is drawn from long-established customs and social structures in land/tree management, as well as validation of claims by establishing policing groups to enforce fees. Chiefs contest each other and, at the same time, contest and push the state out from communities. Consequently, the Forestry Commission has very limited de facto authority over trees despite its de jure mandate in this arena. The legitimacy of institutions stems from the coercive and customary-social ability to control access to resources and opportunities.
|Journal||Journal of Rural Studies|
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
- Chiefs, State, West Africa, Wood fuel