Thorkildsen & Kaarhus: The contested nature of Afro-descendant quilombo land claims in Brazil

Abstract: In Brazil, Afro-descendant quilombola communities were for the first time in history recognised as legal rights-holders to land in the 1988 constitution – 100 years after the abolition of slavery. Drawing on fieldwork in the quilombo Bombas in the state of São Paulo, and a review of relevant literature, this contribution explores the historical trajectory of the constitutional quilombo provision and how it has been translated into practice. Combining a discussion of the use of self-identification and the concepts of ‘regulation’, ‘force’, ‘market’ and ‘legitimation’ when analysing the dynamics of access and exclusion, we show how struggles over land are simultaneously enacted in controversies over the meanings of quilombola identity and its implications.

Keywords: access, Afro-descendants, Brazil, exclusion, land struggles, quilombola identity

The article

Published 14. December 2017 - 10:04 - Updated 14. December 2017 - 10:04