LAW-31306 Property Rights, Natural Resources and Conflict


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Problem-based learning8
Course coordinator(s)dr. D Roth
Lecturer(s)dr. D Roth
dr. ir. G van der Haar
Examiner(s)dr. D Roth

Language of instruction:



This course is organized in cooperation between Law and Governance and Disaster Studies. It contributes to a further deepening of students' understanding of problems related to the use, management, and governance of natural resources. Taking a socio-legal perspective with a focus on property rights and access, the course explores the role of law and legal complexity in resources management and governance. Another important focus of the course concerns the processes of contestation of rules and institutions in dynamic political, institutional, and ecological contexts. Climate change, wars and resource conflicts tend to increase insecurity and vulnerability, and are therefore a major threat to the (food) security of the rural populations that crucially depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. The course deepens the students critical understanding of the relationships between complex legal regulation, resource governance and resource-related conflicts.

Learning outcomes:

After this course students will be expected to:
- be able to understand natural resources issues through a social-scientific approach to law and property rights;
- be able to analyze a diversity of forms of exploitation, management and legal regulation pertaining to natural resources;
- have increased their skills for describing, interpreting and analyzing existing natural resource tenure conditions as well as processes of - intended - change in the exploitation, control and regulation of natural resources;
- be able to link resource use, management and governance to societal values like equity, (existential or 'livelihood', social and legal) security, and sustainability;
- be able to understand the relationships between resources, resource governance and conflict.


The course consists partly of lectures and working groups in which literature will be discussed and assignments made, and partly of a more practical section in which students will develop and work out specific case studies in the field of natural resource use and management.


Examination will take place on the basis of a weighed combination of factors: presence and active participation in the sessions, assignments, essay writing and a final examination.


A course handout and a reader containing the obligatory literature will be available at the secretariat of the Law and Governance Group.

Restricted Optional for: MIDInternational Development StudiesMScA: Sociology of Development4WD
MIDInternational Development StudiesMScC: Communication, Technology and Policy4WD
MIDInternational Development StudiesMScB: Economics of Development4WD