Who owns it? Land claims in Latin America (completed)

Land claims in Latin America: their moral legitimacy and implications

Lonely road in the mountains. Photo.

The road to the Pastoruri mountain (Ancash, Perú) 2007.

About the project

Conflicts due to unresolved land claims are a pressing political and social issue throughout Latin America. The aim of this project is to investigate the legitimacy of land claims by both indigenous and non-indigenous communities in Latin America, and to explore the means that these communities can adopt to vindicate the justified land claims that they may have.

A better understanding of the normative considerations that underlie land claims and the strategies that have been adopted to pursue them in Latin America can help facilitate dialogue between social actors that currently are in conflict over land claims.

Full project description (pdf)


The primary objectives is to investigate and evaluate the moral legitimacy of land claims by indigenous and non-indigenous communities in Latin America, and to explore the means that these groups can adopt to vindicate those of their claims that are legitimate.

Secondary Objectives

  1. understand the types of historical and non-historical land claims made by different groups of disadvantaged people in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico
  2. provide an account of the three different moral principles that seem to underlie the land claims made by these disadvantaged people: the principle of contribution, the principle of benefiting from injustice, and the principle of assistance
  3. evaluate the soundness of the different claims in light of the three different principles
  4. explore what means disadvantaged people may employ to vindicate legitimate land claims when the current owners and the state fail to honor these claims


The results of this investigation will be communicated in peer reviewed journal articles, edited collections based on the papers from the workshops, radio podcasts and other media contributions. The project will also conduct PhD courses in Latin American countries on central research themes.


The project is funded by The Norwegian Research Council from 2011 - 2014 and hosted by Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature, Oslo.


Published Mar. 21, 2012 1:31 PM - Last modified Mar. 26, 2020 8:54 AM