The live we lived. A research on land confication and livelihood strategies of farmers in the Ayeyarwady region, Myanmar

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Land tenure in Myanmar is highly complex. Land confiscation occurred all over the country due to the legal and political situation and has affected livelihoods of thousands of farmers in the country. The topic of land confiscation has been widely discussed globally within both academia and politics. It becomes clear that land confiscation should not be seen as a mere economic or political action but as a process that influences the livelihoods of thousands of people around the world. The research adds to the debate about land confiscation by linking the livelihood approach to the process of land confiscation. A holistic and people-centred view on the effects of land confiscation is provided. The research describes the effects of land confiscation on livelihoods within two cases in the Ayeyarwady region in Myanmar: Kangyidaung and Pantanaw. It builds on existing literature as well as group and individual interviews. The findings show the importance of the context in place. The specific context of structures caused that land confiscation could take place and that many farmers ended up in a circle of depths and loans. They felt they lost their power over their livelihoods. The circle encompasses strategies of diversification, migration and dependency. The specific context of structures also determined the possibility to get out of the negative circle as it determines the agency farmers have in order to regain power over their livelihoods. Finally, the research shows the importance to get away of the image of the life farmers have lived. Away from the image of themselves as farmers who are depending their livelihoods on land and explore new livelihood strategies. Key words: Land confiscation; Land Tenure; Livelihoods; Livelihood Strategies; Ayeyarwady; Myanmar
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