gregory alexander on the complexities of land reparations

28Oct14

Gregory S. Alexander, ‘The Complexities of Land Reparations’, Law & Social Inquiry 39, 4 (2014).

The question whether unjust dispossessions of land perpetrated on whole peoples in the past should be corrected by restitution in kind, that is, granting reparations in the form of returning land to the dispossessed former owners or their present-day successors, is substantially more complex than the questions posed by other forms of reparations. I argue that the complexities involved in all the situations where claims for land reparations are made to correct historic injustices give us good reasons to be hesitant about granting such claims. At the same time, we should not dismiss such claims out of hand. Reparations that take a form other than restitution of dispossessed land may be both necessary and sufficient to establish a public marker of acknowledgment.



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