State-centered land regimes and the struggle for customary land in East Asia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


This chapter explores how East Asian states integrate customary claims to land into statutory land tenure systems. Studies show that state-centered land systems, which connect legal recognition of property rights to state territorial authority, often fragment and subordinate customary possessory claims to land. Attempts by states to project their sovereignty over farmland results in a diverse range of highly contested land disputes. This chapter investigates this phenomenon by comparing two types of statutory land systems, title by registration in Cambodia and socialist land use rights in China. It explores whether state-centered property law creates legal understandings of property that conflict with the social reality of customary land practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLand Law and Disputes in Asia
Subtitle of host publicationIn Search of an Alternative for Development
EditorsYuka Kaneko, Narufumi Kadomatsu, Brian Z. Tamanaha
Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781003170600
ISBN (Print)9780367772789, 9780367772796
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Asian Law


  • land law
  • Asia
  • law reform
  • legal development

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