Contested Global Landscapes

A Multidisciplinary Initiative of the Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences

Development and Change special issue, March 2013:

Governing Global Land Deals: The Role of the State in the Rush for Land

Guest Edited by Wendy Wolford, Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Ruth Hall, Ian Scoones and Ben White

Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in large-scale land deals, often from public lands to the hands of foreign or domestic investors. Popularly referred to as a ‘global land grab’, new land acquisitions are drawing upon, restructuring and challenging the nature of both governance and government. While ‘the state’ is often invoked as a key player in contemporary land deals, states do not necessarily operate coherently or with one voice.This collection of essays brings clarity and understanding to the entity of ‘the state’, analyzing government and governance as processes, people and relationships. Focusing on relations of territory, sovereignty, authority and subjects, the essays in this collection explore the highly variable form and content of large-scale land deals in different settings around the world, illuminating both the micro-processes of transaction and expropriation, as well as the broader structural forces at play in global land deals. The authors do not assume a priori that there is a necessary character to land deals, rather they frame the deals themselves quite broadly, as embedded in complex multi-scalar webs of relationships shaped by power, property and production.

Table of Contents
Governing Global Land Deals: The Role of the State in the Rush for Land (pages 189–210)
Wendy Wolford, Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Ruth Hall, Ian Scoones and Ben WhiteState Involvement, Land Grabbing and Counter-Insurgency in Colombia (pages 211–232)
Jacobo GarglesRoad Mapping: Megaprojects and Land Grabs in the Northern Guatemalan Lowlands (pages 233–259)
Liza GrandiaLand Regularization in Brazil and the Global Land Grab (pages 261–283)
Gustavo de L.T. OliveiraNegotiating Environmental Sovereignty in Costa Rica (pages 285–307)
Dana J. Graef

Building the Politics Machine: Tools for ‘Resolving’ the Global Land Grab (pages 309–333)
Michael B. Dwyer

Indirect Dispossession: Domestic Power Imbalances and Foreign Access to Land in Mozambique (pages 335–356)
Madeleine Fairbairn

Competition over Authority and Access: International Land Deals in Madagascar (pages 357–379)
Perrine Burnod, Mathilde Gingembre and Rivo Andrianirina Ratsialonana

Regimes of Dispossession: From Steel Towns to Special Economic Zones (pages 381–407)
Michael Levien

The Political Construction of Wasteland: Governmentality, Land Acquisition and Social Inequality in South India (pages 409–428)
Jennifer Baka

Chinese Land-Based Interventions in Senegal (pages 429–450)
Lila Buckley

Identity, Territory and Land Conflict in Brazil (pages 451–471)
LaShandra Sullivan