Resistance, acquiescence or incorporation? An introduction to land grabbing and political reactions ‘from below'
While several research studies have examined the processes surrounding rural land transformation(s), and, in particular, the accumulation of public land by private entities, there are few studies that examine the responses of locally impacted people to these processes. This paper introduces a set of articles which discuss the varied reactions that local people have to the acquisition of public land and the ways in which they are formed and expressed.
Research goals & methods
The authors review existing theoretical and empirical literature on the conditions for resistance, the role of class and identity politics in the forms that resistance, mobilization, and alliances take, the transnational and local origins of political resistance, the impact of the incorporation of local community members as employees, the role of the state, and responses to the kind of land acquisition that is justified on environmental grounds.
Conclusions & takeaways
A diverse set of papers suggest reactions ‘from below’ are complex and can range from resistance to acquiescence or collaboration, based on varied contexts and impacts. The authors refer to Saturnino Borras Jr and Jennifer Franco’s paper on the need to analyze the main axis of political conflict to understand these reactions. Whether the conflict is between the poor and corporate or landed elites, or between the poor and the state, or among two or more groups of poor people, can impact the nature of the response that is made to land acquisition and dispossession. In addition to class identity, gender, nationality, ethnicity, generation, race, and religion can also influence the shape that the political response takes. Finally, responses are not always for or against land deals but can also be within these deals. Thus, local communities may sometimes choose to negotiate for jobs or access to plots instead of outrightly opposing land deals.
Resistance, acquiescence or incorporation? An introduction to land grabbing and political reactions ‘from below’. The Journal of Peasant Studies. 2015;42(3-4):467 - 488. doi:10.1080/03066150.2015.1036746..
- Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, South Africa