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Institutional hybridity: rangeland governance in Amdo, Tibet

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posted on 2023-06-10, 03:50 authored by Huadancairang Huadancairang
There has been much debate on appropriate forms of land governance and tenure systems in pastoral rangelands. Various models have been proposed, ranging from private to state to common property systems. But what does land control and rangeland use look like on the ground? Through multiple cases across two pastoral settings in Amdo, Tibet, China, this thesis looks at how rangeland governance is assembled in practice and explores what a ‘hybrid land governance’ implies for the way pastoralists use land and confront uncertainty. Following a review of the history of rangeland governance and policy in Amdo Tibet China, qualitative case studies on monastery-centred, pluralism-centred, and relationship-centred governance from Lumu and Sagas show how land governance is assembled through customising norms at hand, making rules in plural contexts, and negotiating with authorities, thus, three approaches to assembling hybridity are identified. As a result, rangeland governance is highly dynamic, always in-the-making, and is emerging through different assemblage processes in the real-world situation. Through the lens of assemblage, this thesis argues that rangeland governance in practice is far more diverse, complex, context-specific — often in the form of ongoing processes of forming hybrid governance — than the conventional understanding of private, state, and communal tenure. Land governance in the pastoral areas of Amdo is thus more complex and less fixed than the official regimes suggest, given the social, political uncertainties faced. A fluid notion of hybrid land governance, as seen through the cases, is contrasted with the fixity and stability assumed by standardised property rights and land tenure systems. The thesis therefore offers a new way of thinking about land governance in the Tibetan Chinese context and suggests a more nuanced approach to rangeland governance that goes beyond the conventional approach, with implication for management, policy, and politics of land in the Tibetan-Chinese context.


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