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Legal Pluralism, Gendered Discourses and Hybridity in Land-Titling Practices in Cambodia

Journal article
Authors Mikael Baaz
Mona Lilja
Allison Östlund
Published in Journal of law and society
Volume 44
Issue 2
Pages 200-227
ISSN 0263-323X
Publication year 2017
Published at School of Global Studies, Peace and Development Research
Department of Law
School of Global Studies
Pages 200-227
Language en
Subject categories Law, Sociology


This paper describes and analyses the tensions, ambivalence and hybrid legal strategies that prevail in the nexus between discourses of gender and the legal pluralism of the new, formalised and customary ways of handling land titles. Based on empirical research in two areas of Cambodia, the paper reveals a number of mechanisms, challenges and inconsistencies in the practice of land-titling in Cambodia. Foremost, the practice of titling seems to be highly informed by local discourses of marriage, family and gender, which all affect who is assigned the land; this leaves a hybrid construction in the nexus between statutory law and customary practices. This paper departs from this empirical observation and adds three contributions – on a theoretical level – to existing research: by incorporating the dimensions of discourse analysis and legal hybridity, by linking the concept of legal pluralism to the process of hybridisation and by introducing the notion of hybridity of implementation as a supplement to hybridity of law.

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