Towards a Theory of Claim Making: Bridging Access and Property Theory

Angela Kronenburg García*, Han van Dijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This article proposes a framework for studying and understanding how people make claims to land and other natural resources. We argue that a focus on claim-making practices of actors (individuals, groups, institutions, companies, the state), and the processes of appropriation, accessing and contestation that come along with it, best responds to Sikor and Lund’s call to examine “the grey zone” between access and property. We identify and discuss three practices of claim making: “grounding claims” is the practice of inscribing or altering the landscape with visible markers connoting ownership; “talking claims” is when speech is used strategically to make, justify and contest claims; and “representing claims” is when claims are represented on material objects (maps, title deeds) that are detached from the resource. We contribute to debates on enclosure, large-scale land acquisitions and resource grabbing by providing a lens of claim making through which these processes can be conceptualized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-183
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number2
Early online date8 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • access
  • Claim making
  • land
  • natural resources
  • property
  • theory

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Towards a Theory of Claim Making: Bridging Access and Property Theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this