chapter
land tenure
Pages 6

Because of the importance of land for the livelihood of the peoples among whom anthropologists have traditionally worked, the ways in which it is held, by persons and by groups, have long been an important subject of enquiry. Well before the end of the *colonial period the study of non-Western forms of land tenure had begun to escape the confines of Western ideological debate that emphasized a stark contrast between ‘individualist’ and ‘communal’ systems. Besides being an area of considerable theoretical interest, for a long time this was one of the most important areas of work in †applied anthropology. It has been less prominent in the postcolonial period, but remains a topic of great importance for *economic anthropology and *development.