While capitalism continues to convert former communal land into private property, communal ownership still exists throughout the world. By examining the agricultural communities of Chile's semi-arid Norte Chico region where the land commons are predominant, Gloria Gallardo Fernandez investigates the historical origins, emergence, socio-economic context and current development of this form of land tenure. The case study is contrasted with communal land areas in Mexico, South Africa, Switzerland and the UK, whose distinct historical and socio-politcal developments are also explored. This investigation documents almost four centuries, stemming from colonial archival sources, and thus fills the theoretical and empirical gap in the literature about this form of commons.
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