The old aphorism “possession is nine-tenths of the law” is particularly relevant in Indonesia, which has seen a string of regime changes and a shifting legal landscape for property claims. Ordinary people struggle to legalize their possessions and claim rights in competition with different branches of government, as well as police, army, and private gangs. This book explores the relationship between possession and legalization across Indonesia, examining the imaginative and improvisational interpretations of law by which Indonesians navigate dispossession.
“Christian Lund provides a brilliant account of how law, force and authority are mobilized to create and obliterate property rights in land. Written with exceptional clarity and passion.”—Tania Murray Li, author of Land’s End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenou Frontier
“Why do people pursue legalizing claims if the law does not live up to its promise to offer enduring predictability? Lund offers profound insights in this fundamental paradox of law.”—Keebet von Benda-Beckmann, co-author of Political and Legal Transformations of an Indonesian Polity
“Nine-Tenths of the Law is a deeply original analysis of land property relations. It is one of the best books I’ve read on the pressing contemporary social issues of property, citizenship, dispossession, law, and social movements. A tour de force!”—Jun Borras, International Institute of Social Studies
"Lund maps out the conceptual and empirical frontier of a new legal anthropology. Nine-Tenths of the Law puts property in its place among other social and political elements of possession. Beautifully written and continuously enlightening!"—Jesse Ribot, American University
“Nine-Tenths of the Law is a very important contribution to an emerging debate on citizenship in the postcolonial world, deftly connecting literatures on postcolonial law, citizenship, and anthropologies of the state."—Gerry van Klinken, author of Postcolonial Citizenship in Provincial Indonesia