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Article

De-/Fencing Grasslands: Ongoing Boundary Making and Unmaking in Postcolonial Kenya

by 1,2,*,† and 3,†
1
Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Aarhus University, Moesgaard Allé 20, 8270 Højbjerg, Denmark
2
Moesgaard Museum, Moesgaard Allé 20, 8270 Højbjerg, Denmark
3
Danish Institute for International Studies, Østbanegade 117, 2100 København, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
The authors have contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Nik Petek-Sargeant, Federica Sulas and Paul Lane
Land 2021, 10(8), 786; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10080786
Received: 9 April 2021 / Revised: 5 July 2021 / Accepted: 12 July 2021 / Published: 27 July 2021
Across contemporary East Africa, fencing is spreading with incredible speed over hundreds of thousands of hectares of rangelands, fundamentally reconfiguring land tenure dynamics. But why is this happening now, what are the precursors, and what will happen in the years to come? In this article, we ask how pre- and post-colonial landscape gridding perpetuate a slow violence across the landscape through processes of de-/fencing. Fencing, we argue, is embedded in a landscape logic that favours exclusive rights and conditioned access. In two case studies from grazing lands in Kenya, we explore how people engage with the tension of an imposed landscape logic of fencing by either asserting or challenging its very physicality. We propose that de-/fencing are ways of anticipating long-standing land tenure uncertainties. Moreover, we use our cases to explore different points of reference along the mattering of land tenure boundaries as well as the sort of horizons to which fencing leads. We also use this knowledge to improve our understanding of parallel prehistoric cases of large-scale landscape enclosure. By unfolding the intertwined socio-political and material nature of gridded landscapes, we seek to bring the study of fencing out of conservation literature and into its wider culture-historical context. View Full-Text
Keywords: fencing; pastoralism; Kenya; East Africa; post-colonialism; land-use; land privatization; conservation policies; grazing land fencing; pastoralism; Kenya; East Africa; post-colonialism; land-use; land privatization; conservation policies; grazing land
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MDPI and ACS Style

Løvschal, M.; Gravesen, M.L. De-/Fencing Grasslands: Ongoing Boundary Making and Unmaking in Postcolonial Kenya. Land 2021, 10, 786. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10080786

AMA Style

Løvschal M, Gravesen ML. De-/Fencing Grasslands: Ongoing Boundary Making and Unmaking in Postcolonial Kenya. Land. 2021; 10(8):786. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10080786

Chicago/Turabian Style

Løvschal, Mette, and Marie L. Gravesen. 2021. "De-/Fencing Grasslands: Ongoing Boundary Making and Unmaking in Postcolonial Kenya" Land 10, no. 8: 786. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10080786

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