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Politics, economics, how about our health? Impacts of large-scale land acquisitions on therapeutic spaces and wellbeing in coastal Tanzania

Kilian Nasung Atuoye, Isaac Luginaah, Herbert Hambati and Gwyn Campbell

Social Science & Medicine, 2019, vol. 220, issue C, 283-291

Abstract: One question that has remained unexplored in the global land rush debate is how large-scale land acquisitions affect health and wellbeing of local populations. As part of a larger study, this study advances our understanding in this area by applying the concept of therapeutic landscapes to analyze interviews conducted in two coastal communities in Tanzania where land investments have been prevalent. Our analysis found that local populations perceived traditional lands with sacred sites as therapeutic spaces, which embodied cultural values, and promoted health and wellbeing when protected. Intrusion into these spaces through large-scale land investment is believed to remove their therapeutic attributes, thereby turning them into unhealthy landscapes. Dispossession of these spaces is perceived to heighten community distress resulting in poor psychosocial health. Based on our findings, we suggest that health consequences of land investments should move to the center of the large-scale land acquisition discourse. Health policy should refocus on the psychosocial health impacts of global land investments in Tanzania and other low-income countries. Ultimately local participation in land governance should be strengthened through land reforms in Tanzania and similar contexts, as this may provide a buffer to poor psychosocial health.

Keywords: Psychosocial health; Large-scale land acquisitions; Land grabbing; Wellbeing; Therapeutic spaces; Tanzania (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:220:y:2019:i:c:p:283-291