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Questions about land control have invigorated thinkers in agrarian studies and economic history since the nineteenth century. ‘Exclusion’, ‘alienation’, ‘expropriation’, ‘dispossession’, and ‘violence’ animate histories of land use, property rights, and territories. More recently, agrarian environments have been transformed by processes of de-agrarianization, urbanization, migration, and new forms of primitive accumulation. Even the classic agrarian question of how the social relations of agriculture will be influenced by capitalism has been reformulated at critical historical moments, reviving or producing new debates around the importance of land control. The authors in this volume focus on new frontiers of land control and their active creation. These frontiers are sites where established power relationships are challenged by new enclosures and property regimes, producing new social and environmental dynamics in their stead. Contributors examine labor and production processes engaged by new configurations of actors, new agrarian and environmental subjects and the networks connecting them, and new legal and violent means of challenging established or imminent land controls. Overall we find that land control still matters, though in changed degrees and manners. Land control will continue to inspire struggles for a long time. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies.
This collection explores the complex dynamics of corporate land deals from a broad agrarian political economy perspective, with a special focus on the implications for property and labour regimes, labour processes and structures of accumulation. This involves looking at ways in which existing patterns of rural social differentiation – in terms of class, gender, ethnicity and generation – are being shaped by changes in land use and property relations, as well as by the re-organization of production and exchange as rural communities and resources are incorporated into global commodity chains. It goes further than the descriptive ‘what’ and ‘who’ questions, in order to understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of these patterns. It is empirically solid and theoretically sophisticated, making it a robust and boundary-changing work. Contributors come from various scholarly disciplines. Covering nearly all regions of the world, the collection will be of interest to researchers from various disciplines, policymakers and activists. This book was originally published as a Special Issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies.
The struggle over land has been the central issue in Zimbabwe ever since white settlers began to carve out large farms over a century ago. Their monopolisation of the better-watered half of the land was the focus of the African war of liberation war, and was partially modified following Independence in 1980. A dramatic further episode in this history was launched at the start of the last decade with the occupation of many farms by groups of African veterans of the liberation struggle and their supporters, which was then institutionalised by legislation to take over most of the large commercial farms for sub-division. Sustained fieldwork over the intervening years, by teams of scholars and experts, and by individual researchers is now generating an array of evidence-based findings of the outcomes: how land was acquired and disposed of; how it has been used; how far new farmers have carved out new livelihoods and viable new communities; the major political and economic problems they and other stakeholders such as former farm-workers, commercial farmers, and the overall rural society now face. This book will be an essential starting place for analysts, policy-makers, historians and activists seeking to understand what has happened and to spotlight the key issues for the next decade. This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies.
Across the world, ecosystems are for sale. ‘Green grabbing’ – the appropriation of land and resources for environmental ends – is an emerging process of deep and growing significance. A vigorous debate on ‘land grabbing’ already highlights instances where ‘green’ credentials are called upon to justify appropriations of land for food or fuel. Yet in other cases, environmental green agendas are the core drivers and goals of grabs. Green grabs may be drivn by biodiversity conservation, biocarbon sequestration, biofuels, ecosystem services or ecotourism, for example. In some cases theyse agendas involve the wholesale alienation of land, and in others the restructuring of rules and authority in the access, use and management of resources that may have profoundly alienating effects. Green grabbing builds on well-known histories of colonial and neo-colonial resource alienation in the name of the environment. Yet it involves novel forms of valuation, commodification and markets for pieces and aspects of nature, and an extraordinary new range of actors and alliances. This book draws together seventeen original cases from African, Asian and Latin American settings to ask: To what extent and in what ways do ‘green grabs’ constitute new forms of appropriation of nature? What political and discursive dynamics underpin ‘green grabs’? How and when do appropriations on the ground emerge out of circulations of green capital? What are the implications for ecologies, landscapes and livelihoods? Who is gaining and who is losing? How are agrarian social relations, rights and authority being restructured, and in whose interests? This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies.
This collection provides an overview of China’s rural politics, bringing scholarship on agrarian politics from various social science disciplines together in one place. The twelve contributions, spanning history, anthropology, sociology, environmental studies, political science, and geography, address enduring questions in peasant studies, including the relationship between states and peasants, taxation, social movements, rural-urban linkages, land rights and struggles, gender relations, and environmental politics. Taking rural politics as the power-inflected processes and struggles that shape access and control over resources in the countryside, as well as the values, ideologies and discourses that shape those processes, the volume brings research on China into conversation with the traditions and concerns of peasant studies scholarship. It provides both an introduction to those unfamiliar with Chinese politics, as well as in-depth, new research for experts in the field. This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies.
Since the 2008 world food crisis a surge of land grabbing swept Africa, Asia and Latin America and even some regions of Europe and North America. Investors have uprooted rural communities for massive agricultural, biofuels, mining, industrial and urbanisation projects. ‘Water grabbing’ and ‘green grabbing’ have further exacerbated social tensions. Early analyses of land grabbing focused on foreign actors, the biofuels boom and Africa, and pointed to catastrophic consequences for the rural poor. Subsequently scholars carried out local case studies in diverse world regions. The contributors to this volume advance the discussion to a new stage, critically scrutinizing alarmist claims of the first wave of research, probing the historical antecedents of today’s land grabbing, examining large-scale land acquisitions in light of international human rights and investment law, and considering anew longstanding questions in agrarian political economy about forms of dispossession and accumulation and grassroots resistance. Readers of this collection will learn about the impacts of land and water grabbing; the relevance of key theorists, including Marx, Polanyi and Harvey; the realities of China’s involvement in Africa; how contemporary land grabbing differs from earlier plantation agriculture; and how social movements—and rural people in general—are responding to this new threat. This book was published as a special issue of Third World Quarterly.
This volume examines how states and citizens have been able to address globalization in different ways across the Global North and South. Authors examine the state as it forms policies in agro-production, contends with critical constituencies, and rebuilds capacity to act in the popular interest after forty years of neoliberal assault.

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