Aarhus Universitets segl

Do good fences make good neighbors? Exploring a multi-temporal approach to land use conflicts in pastoral societies

IMC Seed funding to Associate Professor Mette Løvschal's project

  • Mette Løvschal, Dept. of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, CAS
  • Collaborators: Marie Gravesen


With present-day intensifications of large-scale human migration, degrading natural environment, and enhanced political rhetoric fuelled by fear of losing resources, the construction of walls and fences is bound to continue and escalate. However, scholarly methods for undertaking such studies have been biased. For instance, the construction of a fence by one side of the boundary can make a conflict escalate rather than stimulate consentment, which the fence might be perceived to create from the perspective of archaeologists excavating the fence lines centuries later. In order to navigate these intensifications, we need to understand “both sides of the fence”, i.e. the fence itself and the dynamics and power struggles taking place around it, both of which shape boundary perceptions over time. This study treats into new territory by crossing the boundaries between the archaeological expertise on the physical constructions of fences and the anthropological domain of studying the social processes surrounding them. That way, we wish to explore the wider impacts of what seemingly adds structure and clarity in a physical landscape, while potentially enhancing friction and conflict in the social landscape. Combining spatial analyses with qualitative data on the social and historical dynamics of fencing will contribute to new understandings of the complexities creating land tenure boundaries. 

Read more here: http://interactingminds.au.dk/seeds/2019/