From the war in Ukraine to global grabbing of the commons – empirical insights and theoretical reflections

Development Research Seminar with Jampel Dell’Angelo
Associate professor
Dr Jampel Dell'Angelo
Tuesday 23 May 2023, 16:00 - 17:30
Spoken Language
Aula A
International Institute of Social Studies
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Please contact Eveline Deutman for more information about this seminar.

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Jampel Dell'Angelo

In this Development Research Seminar, Jampel Dell'Angelo argues that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is fueling a resurgence of a global rush for land through transnational large-scale land acquisitions, with the commons being preferentially targetted. 

How does this impact on social conflict, social mobilizations and organized collective action?

The simultaneous occurrence in 2008 of interconnected shocks in climate, food production and international finance underscored the emergence of a contemporary 'global land rush'. Since the turn of the century, a conservative estimate, limited to fully concluded deals, points to more than 45 million ha of land, approximately the size of Sweden or Morocco, having been acquired through transnational large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) for agricultural production.

The unprecedented expansion of transnational land investments raised concerns about a neocolonial wave of land and water 'grabbing' in the Global South. This has stimulated a heated debate in scholarly and policy arenas on the diverging trajectories of the contemporary global agrarian transition.

In this Development Research Seminar, Jampel Dell'Angelo suggests that impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine fuel the resurgence of a new global rush for land, triggering transformations that will have cascading and long-lasting structural effects on multiple dimensions of rural development. A primary concern is on the mounting evidence LSLAs preferentially target the commons, in the process altering long-standing customary resource governance systems.

While it has been shown that in many instances of commons grabbing associated with LSLAs, different types of social conflict emerge, it is less clear what forms of social mobilization and organized collective re-actions are taking place to defend the commons and contest such processes of dispossession and enclosure.

This seminar will present recent empirical insights on the phenomenon and discuss them from the perspective of (critical) commons theory.

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The Development Research seminars present cutting-edge research on development studies by noted scholars from around the world. The Series aims to stimulate critical discussion about contemporary development issues.

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