Green Grabbing: a new appropriation of nature?

Special Issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies

5 July 2012

Across the world, ‘green grabbing’ – the appropriation of land and resources for environmental ends – is an emerging process of deep and growing significance. In recent years there has been a veritable explosion of scholarship examining the neoliberalization of environments, nature and conservation, drawing partly on older traditions of ecological/green Marxism and critical political ecology

Journal of Peasant Studies
Volume 39, Issue No. 2 special issue

Green Grabbing: a new appropriation of nature?
Guest Editors: James Fairhead, Melissa Leach and Ian Scoones

  
Across the world, ‘green grabbing’ – the appropriation of land and resources for environmental ends – is an emerging process of deep and growing significance. In recent years there has been a veritable explosion of scholarship examining the neoliberalization of environments, nature and conservation, drawing partly on older traditions of ecological/green Marxism and critical political ecology. The contributions to this Special Issue are indebted to this work, but also move beyond it, locating the discussions in a particular concern for the implications of changing agrarian relations resulting from these multiple and diverse appropriations of nature.
 

Land grabbing in Latin America and the Caribbean
Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Jennifer C. Franco, Sergio Gomez, Cristobal Kay and Max Spoor
In the initial surge of reports and studies on contemporary land grabbing there is a dominant assumption that the phenomenon has occurred because of the 2007–2008 food crisis, which in turn was largely caused by the emerging global biofuels complex (the initial ‘food versus fuel’ view – see White and Dasgupta 2010). The changes in the global agrofood system made some financially powerful countries (primarily China, South Korea, and the Gulf States) that could not produce sufficient food domestically feel insecure. They started to seek control over large tracts of lands overseas to secure food supply (GRAIN 2008). The principal target is Africa where vast empty lands are thought to be available, cheaply. It is generally assumed that 70 percent of all lands that were grabbed, estimated by Oxfam to be 227 million hectares (ha) in 2011, are in Africa (Oxfam 2011). (Inter)national public policy- making aimed at addressing some of the serious concerns in the current land rush (expulsion of peasants from their land, corrupt land deals, and so on) has been underway and is politically contested.

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The new enclosures: critical perspectives on corporate land deals
Ben White, Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Ruth Hall, Ian Scoones and Wendy Wolford
The contributions to this collection use the tools of agrarian political economy to explore the rapid growth of large-scale land deals in recent years – the phenomenon popularly known as ‘land grabbing’, the large-scale acquisition of land or land- related rights and resources by corporate (business, non-profit or public) entities. The focus is on the ways in which ‘grabbing’ creates specific kinds of property dynamics, namely dispossession of land, water, forests and other common property resources; their concentration, privatization and transaction as corporate (owned or leased) property; and in turn the transformation of agrarian labour regimes.

Download this chapter.

 

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