This article explores how nonindigenous settlers in the Brazilian Amazon pursue vernacular territorial strategies as they attempt to make property legible and legitimate in an emerging order of state-led governance reforms. In Amazonia, official figurations for the development of the region have layered upon one another over the past 50 years, depositing a range of contradictory procedures for claiming, holding, and disposing of property. Ethnography shows how residents draw on the ambiguous history of property-making and their deep familiarity with surrounding landscapes to influence new environmental governance paradigms. With the goal of appearing in line with state-led tenure reform, colonists engage in a form of speculative accumulation: not an accumulation of territories as such, but of means to defend or extend one’s future land claims. Remaining viable in a possible future governance scheme requires colonists to pursue a range of surprising material and discursive practices.
Campbell, Jeremy M. 2014. "Speculative Accumulation: Property-Making in the Brazilian Amazon." The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 19 (2).