Delta State University

SOC 422/522 COD 522

Spring Semester 2005


Study Questions, Week 5


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Topics for the Week:


Land and Property


Readings for the Week:


Bromley, Daniel W. 1989. Property relations and economic development: the other land reform. World Development 17(6):867–877.


Geisler, Charles. 1993. Ownership: an overview. Rural Sociology 58(4):532–546.


Questions, Bromley & Geisler Readings:


(1)  What is meant by the term “property?”  What types of property relations can exist?  What functions do they serve in society?


(2)  What does Bromley mean by “the other land reform?”  What options exist for carrying out this land reform?


(3)  Distinguish between public, private, common and non-property regimes.  What are the distinguishing characteristics of each? 


(4)  In what ways might ownership affect land management practices?  Which type of ownership is most likely to produce environmentally sustainable practices?


(5)  Who owns the land in the United States?  To what extent do the ideal types of “public” and “private” as described by Bromley apply to conditions in the U.S.?


(6)  What does Geisler mean when he says the American land base is shrinking?  What mechanisms facilitate this process?


(7)  Geisler debunks six myths about land ownership in the U.S.  For each, explain the “received wisdom” and outline Geisler’s evidence to the contrary.


(8)  Explain some of the differences in land ownership patterns by region (northeast, north central, south, west) in the U.S.