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In this article, I examine the cultural politics of development in a Zimbabwean resettlement scheme, situating state interventions in the deep histories of colonial efforts to discipline rural livelihoods. Popular memories of resistance to colonial conservation, shaped by transnational circuits and constitutive of Zimbabwean nationalism, animate the cultural idioms of entitlement and state power in the 1990s. The contingent micro-politics of agrarian struggle counter a recent tendency toward discursive determinism in anthropological perspectives on development. [development, cultural politics, practice, nationalism, spatiality, governmentality, southern Africa]