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Lange, Katharina

The value of the homeland: Land in Duhok, Kurdistan-Iraq, as territory, resource, and landscape

14/02/2022

Economic Anthropology

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/sea2.12246
Abstract

Drawing from fieldwork in Kurdistan's Duhok Province between 2013 and 2018, this article scrutinizes the notion of “homeland” through a focus on three ways in which land is valued—as territory, resource, and landscape. Territory, control, and sovereignty over land are claimed in the name of an ethnically defined national whole, yet when approaching land as resource and landscape, we see fissures and cracks that nationalist rhetoric obscures. In each of these, spatial and temporal horizons intersect, while the different temporal scales also imply different social actors: those with local roots may invest in land, while outsiders cannot acquire property; those who seek to make a living from agriculture resent policies that privilege extractive industries. The tensions between these dimensions emerge in contestations over who is at home in this land and how they should inhabit and engage with it properly, as extractivist and speculative usages are both desired and uneasily judged to be at odds with more productive or sustainable practices.

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