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Call for Papers: The Politics of Land Grabbing, June 2013

April 15, 2013

The Politics of Land Grabbing; Strategies of Resistance 4 - 5 June 2013

Centre for Peace and Development Studies, University of Limerick, in partnership with Christian Aid, Ireland

The recent surge in large scale land acquisitions by foreign companies, governments and private individuals across the global South is generally associated with a contemporary context of spikes in food prices following the crisis of 2007-2008; a growing demand for biofuels; and the promotion of foreign direct investment as a strategy for economic development. The realisation that these deals may threaten food security and provoke conflict has con-tributed to establishing ‘land grabs’ as a political problem requiring urgent attention. Definitions of this term are contested; land-grabbing is by no means a new phenomenon and the forms and impacts of such land deals vary considerably in different contexts. However, ‘land grabs’ generally have negative consequences for the lives and livelihoods of communities living on or in proximity to the land acquired. Many deals have led to the disposses-sion and displacement of peasants and indigenous peoples who lived on, but lacked any legal claim to the land. In other cases, peasants have been offered limited compensation and continue to live on or near their land, in ten-sion with the new proprietors.

This two-day seminar will focus on the impacts of large scale land acquisitions on local communities. It will identi-fy the political and economic structures and agencies involved in land grabbing, while examining how affected communities have engaged with or challenged them. In particular, it will focus upon efforts to publicise and pro-test against land grabbing and their aims and effects, and will aim to facilitate networking and dialogue around strategies of resistance, protection and advocacy. It will consider the following questions:

· How are large-scale land acquisitions perceived by affected communities?
· Which economic and political structures/agencies are involved? How and to what extent have local com-munities engaged with or challenged these?
· How and to what extent have affected communities actively resisted land grabs? What support have they gained for these struggles and from which national or international actors/organisations?
· Are there gender differences in experiences of land grabs and participation in or attitudes towards re-sistance?
· What strategies have governments, NGOs and/or international development donors employed to prevent conflict arising from these land grabs and to support affected groups?
· How do affected communities and their advocates define ‘conflict prevention’ in relation to land grabs?
Scholars and policy practitioners interested in the politics of land, food security, development and the politics of resistance as well as those engaged actively in contesting ‘land-grabs’ are invited to share and reflect critically on their research and experiences. The one-day seminar on the ‘politics of land grabbing’ will followed by a half-day seminar on strategies of resistance, and an intensive reflection by practitioners to facilitate networking and dia-logue around strategies of resistance, protection and advocacy.

Titles and abstracts of proposed papers (max 300 words) should be sent to Rachel Ibreck, by 27 April. There will be some funds available for travel and accommodation for selected participants.