The rise of BRICS and its implications for global agrarian transformations

'China, extractive sector investments and global agrarian transformations'
13 Enero 2014

The Transnational Institute (TNI) -- through its Agrarian Justice work area -- is starting a major research on the rise of BRICS and middle income countries (MICs) and its implications for global agrarian transformations, with special attention to Chinese investments in Southeast Asia in collaboration with several universities.

China and its extractive sector investments

The research project aims to have a better understanding of the rise of China – in the context of the rise of BRICS and some middle-income countries (MICs) – focusing on its extractive sector investments (mining, timber, agricultural ‘flex’ crops and other agricultural commodities) and its implications for global agrarian transformations in the spheres of production, circulation, and consumption; impacts on rural poor peoples of the world, but especially in Southeast Asia and China.

We aim to contribute towards a better understanding globally and in China of these complexities, and to contribute towards a more informed civil society work on global governance around these issues and within this changed and changing global political terrain.

BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies

The project with be carried out in close collaboration with the newly launched international research network, the BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies (BICAS). It is a collective of largely BRICS-based or connected academic and policy-oriented researchers concerned with understanding the BRICS countries and MICs and their implications for global agrarian transformations.                  

Critical theoretical and empirical questions about the origins, character and significance of complex changes underway need to be investigated more systematically. The initial coverage will be China, Brazil and South Africa.

Network members are:

  • Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS),
  • University of Brasilia (UnB), Planaltina Campus (FUP),
  • College of Humanities and Development Studies (COHD) at the China Agricultural University, Beijing,
  • Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town

and in collaboration with the Agrarian, Food & Environmental Studies sub-group of the Research Programme Political Economy of the Resources, Population and the Environment (PER) of the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC), and the Transnational Institute (TNI).

For details, see:

The project will run for two years, 2014-2015, and is funded by the Ford Foundation – Beijing Office. The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) is the project coordinator. For further information, get in touch with TNI Fellow Jun Borras.


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