Date of Award

December 2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Institute on Family and Community Life

Committee Member

Bonnie Holaday

Committee Member

Kenneth Robinson

Committee Member

Betty Baldwid

Committee Member

Martie Thompson

Abstract

The aim of this case study was to analyze events, practices, laws, and decrees that have contributed to Maasai land appropriation and acquisition from the perspective of the Maasai in order to make policy recommendations. This case study was both intrinsic (how the Maasai understood the situation of land appropriation and acquisition) and instrumental (what can others learn from the situation of the Maasai).

This study used a form of qualitative research known as a case study. This particular study uses both intrinsic and instrumental case study designs (Denzin and Lincoln, 2006, Stake, 1995). The goal of the intrinsic component of the case study was to understand better land appropriation from the Maasai (see research question 1-3). The intent for instrumental components of the study was to gain more insight into the past and future policy elements of Maasai land appropriation (see research questions 4). Here the case study was of secondary interest; it played a supportive role, facilitating our understanding. Both approaches were considered appropriate for the analysis and themes derived from an exploration of events, practices, laws, and decrees that have been associated with Maasai land appropriation and acquisition (Hughes, 2006). The instrumental component of the study was not possible without information from the intrinsic part.

According to the research findings, 25% of the participants were conversant of events that led to Maasai land appropriation and alienation in the past, 98% understand the current events going on now regarding Maasai land appropriation and alienation. Regarding the issue of what needs to be done about Maasai land appropriation and alienation, the participants gave varied views. Further, 45% percent of the participants said that the implications of the Maasai land appropriation and alienation case will inform policy on the ongoing global land grabs.

The key lessons from the case study of the Maasai land appropriation in Narok and Kajiado counties indicate that there is evidence to suggests that the privatization of land into individual land holdings has had negative effects on the sustainable use of resources, access to loans, disparities between rich and poor, wealth creation, and the ability of the Maasai to earn a living through pastoralism. Secondly, the example of the Maasai in in Narok and Kajiado counties suggests that, contrary to the commonly held development wisdom that private property is a cornerstone of successful economic development, formal property rights are not a one-size-fits-all reform suitable in all contexts.

This study used a form of qualitative research known as a case study. This particular study uses both intrinsic and instrumental case study designs (Denzin and Lincoln, 2006, Stake, 1995). The goal of the intrinsic component of the case study was to understand better land appropriation from the Maasai (see research question 1-3). The intent for instrumental components of the study was to gain more insight into the past and future policy elements of Maasai land appropriation (see research questions 4). Here the case study was of secondary interest; it played a supportive role, facilitating our understanding. Both approaches were considered appropriate for the analysis and themes derived from an exploration of events, practices, laws, and decrees that have been associated with Maasai land appropriation and acquisition (Hughes, 2006). The instrumental component of the study was not possible without information from the intrinsic part.

The choice of the two types of approaches was guided by 1) the need to put aside prior theories and assumptions about Maasai land appropriation (Fairhead, Leach, and Scoones, 2014) and let the participants and data “speak” in order to allow themes, patterns, and concepts to emerge; and 2) the need to understand a variety of underlying factors that contributed to Maasai land appropriation and acquisition beyond the typical reasons such as government annexation, encroachment by urbanization, establishment of parks and forest reserves, high levels of illiteracy among the Maasai. To understand the contextual background of Maasai land appropriation and aquisition the investigator used historical documents (laws, decrees, policies) from 2004, the year the Maasai in Kenya commemorated the 100th year since the first Maasai agreements were signed in 1904 and 1911.

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