Bounding the commons: Land Demarcation in Northeastern Nicaragua

Mary Finley-Brook, Karl Offen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In north-eastern Nicaragua, territorial titling of communal lands conflates particular notions of ethnicity with proprietary conceptions of space to generate new forms of conflict within and between indigenous and black communities, and with mestizo migrants. Notions of rights between competing groups, or within conflicting normative frameworks, become increasingly polemic during demarcation. While analysis of three land titling case studies demonstrates that results are socially contingent and place based, trends include: (a) power disparities; (b) tension between 'traditional' and 'modern' patterns of land tenure and resource rights; and (c) contradictions fed by international conservation agendas and neoliberal economic reforms. Combining critical actor-based analysis with practical policy critique our work illuminates how contestations over the bounding of communal territories contribute to social injustice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-363
Number of pages21
JournalBulletin of Latin American Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Commons
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Nicaragua
  • North Atlantic Autonomous Region
  • Political ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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