New Extractivism Peasantries and Social Dynamics

New Extractivism Peasantries and Social Dynamics: Critical Perspectives and Debates

Fifth conference, Moscow, 13-16 October 2017 organized by BRICS Initiative in Critical Agrarian Studies

About the conference

Over the past two decades, agrarian economies and food systems have been undergoing a profound restructuring in the wake of large-scale land investments and the increasing financialization of capital and land. These have reinforced old and created new forms and sites of capital accumulation by local and foreign elites, and supported both old and new forms of extractivism and agroextractivism. This restructuring has contributed to the unsettling of global geopolitics in this period, the context within which the BRICS grouping of countries was established as a vehicle to pursue their collective and individual agendas.

Recently, uncertainties in global power relations have been exacerbated by the rise of variegated nationalist-populist political projects, movements or governments. Many of these are authoritarian and reactionary – as part of the reaction to, and reflection of, the failure of neoliberal globalization and its version of ‘development’. Such projects sometimes involve chauvinistic appeals to land and nation, and xenophobic violence against outsiders, however defined. Typically, the divisions of class relations are downplayed or hidden by these ideologies and practices, despite their undoubted centrality to the underlying dynamics. On the other hand, new forms of resistance and struggles by oppressed groups, including peasants and traditional communities, are also emerging. Often these involve emancipatory forms of politics, but in some cases they are rife with tensions over class, gender and other social differences. Politics in all its guises thus continues to be a fundamental factor within processes of socio-economic transformation, including agrarian change.

This conference will explore these emerging realities from the perspective of critical and engaged scholarship, in alliance with active social forces. We will seek answers to difficult questions within three main clusters of subthemes – all informed by perspectives derived from agrarian political economy, sociology, and agro-ecology:

 (a)  The rise of – and current troubles within – the BRICS countries and middle-income countries (MICs), and the implications for agrarian/rural transformations as key aspects of broader social changes, inside these countries and regionally/internationally.

(b)  The renewed interest in what some call ‘new extractivism’ and/or ‘agro-extractivism’ – in and in relation to the BRICS countries and middle income countries and beyond – and the role of the state as part of broader agrarian and environmental transformations, and the implications for food sovereignty.

(c)  The rise of diverse forms of nationalist and populist movements and governments, within and outside the BRICS countries and middle- income countries, and the involvement in and reactions to such nationalist-populist projects by peasants and other rural classes.

The challenges to advocacy work by civil society and social movement groups in relation to the issues discussed above are enormous. A conversation on this will be an important part of the conference, anchored by the Transnational Institute (TNI).

Conference papers





The Changing Modalities of ‘Frontiers of Existence’ and ‘Commodity/Resource Frontiers’: Preliminary Notes based on Deforestation in Brazil

Markus Kröger


Naive monarchism and rural resistance in contemporary Russia

Natalia Mamonova


Multiple Rationality: Peasant's Motivation of Self-Protection During Food System Transformation in China

Li Zhou, Ping Fang


Neo-Extractivism, Populism, and the Agrarian Question in Bolivia and Ecuador

Mark Tilzey


Bulgarian agriculture in 21st century – the road towards a new “feudalization”

Petar Dobrev


Ending years of solitude? The Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil and access to land in Colombia

Christelle Genoud


The evolving face of agribusiness investment along Brazil’s new frontier: institutional investors, recent political moves, and the financialization of the Matopiba

Eva Hershaw, Sérgio Sauer



Land reform, rural development and developmental state policies in South Africa: betwixt and between integrated development

Evert Waeterloos


Social division of labor in rural spaces in Brazil: memory and history of the expansion of rural social movements and disputes over hegemony

José Paulo Pietrafesa, Amone Inácia Alves, Pedro Araújo Pietrafesa


Limits to neoliberal authoritarianism in the politics of land capitalization in Thailand: beyond the paradox

Philip Hirsch


Family Farms, Land Grabs and Agrarian Transformations: Some Silences in the Food Sovereignty Discourse

Adwoa Yeboah Gyapong


Narrative disputes on family farming public policies in Brazil: Conservative attacks and restricted counter-movements

Paulo Niederle, Catia Grisa, Everton Picolotto, Denis Soldera


The effect of the Russian Food Embargo on small holders’ food production

Alessandra Moretti


Financialization, Agro-extractivism and the role of China: readings from the World System Theory perspective

Mauro Conti


Land Reform, The Agrarian Question, & Their Role In Agro-Industrial Restructuring Through Contract Farming in South Africa

Lisa Santosa


Assessing impact of Russian Bolshevik thought on Mohammad Afzal Khan Bangash as leader of peasant movement at North Hashtnagar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan: from 1963 to 1979

Raschid Mughal


Productive forces in new extractivism on Paraguayan associated development

Ramón Fogel


Political mobilization and sustainability: The socio-environmental movement and the struggle for land and territorial rights in Brazil

Luciana Nars, Sérgio Sauer


The New Development Bank (NDB) vs The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): An analytical comparison from a critical perspective

Shigehisa Kasahara



Food Security with Agrarian Crisis?: Exploring Historical Roots of the Paradox in India and China, c. 1950-2000

Sanjay Kumar Sharma, Pragati Mohapatra


Rural transformation and social exclusion in the formation of the “globalising” city Gurugram, India

Suruchi Kumari


Financial capital, land grabbing, and multiscale strategies of corporations specializing in the land market in the Matopiba region (Brazil)

Bruno Rezende Spadotto,Yuri Martenauer, Saweljew, Samuel Frederico, Fábio Teixeira Pitta


Strategies underlying capital accumulation in the agro-food sector: agro-technification, food politicization and land speculation

Jin Zhang


Land grabbing by villagers? insights from intimate land grabbing in the rise of industrial tree planation sector in Guangxi, China

Yunan Xu


Gouvernementalité: the hidden agenda of Brazil’s 2016 agrigolpe

Clifford Andrew Welch


Not About Land, Not Quite a Grab: Rural Transformation and Dispersed Dispossession in Russia

Alexander Vorbrugg


Food empires: 7 theses on how capital currently operates in food production, processing and distribution

Jan Douwe van der Ploeg


Game Farming Policy, Private Game Farming and the South African Rural Landscape

Tariro Kamuti, Shirley Brooks


South-South Cooperation? Evaluating Chinese agribusiness investments in Brazil from 2003 to 2016

Gustavo de L. T. Oliveira


Land reform politics in South Africa and the crisis of social reproduction

Donna Hornby


Granted to privatise, but failed to capitalise: The role of agrarian production politics in emerging farm typologies in post-Soviet Tajikistan

Irna Hofman


The ‘Agrarian Question of Labour’ and land reform in South Africa: farm work dynamics on redistributed land in the eastern Free State

Mnqobi Ngubane


Reflexions on the south-south new sub-imperialism in Mozambique: a “24h open business” for natural resources?

Natacha Bruna


Drivers and Implications of Chinese Investments in the Brazilian Agribusiness: Actors, Strategies and Market Dynamics of the Corporate Food Regime

Fabiano Escher, John Wilkinson, Paulo Rodrigues Fernandes Pereira


The ‘peasant problem’ in the Russian revolution(s), 1905-1929

Henry Bernstein


Employment dynamics and the ‘Agrarian Question of Labour’ in the citrus sub-sector of South Africa

Amelia Genis



Expulsion by Pollution: the political economy of industrial parks in rural China     


Hua Li


Class In Itself? Caste For Itself? Exploring the Latest Phase of Rural Agitations in India

Anisha George & Awanish Kumar


Rural Transformation through E-commerce in China: Opportunities and Constraints for Small Farmers

Libin Wang


Land and Migrant Labor in South Africa and China in Comparative Perspective

Shaohua Zhan and Ben Scully


National Agriculture Project of Turkey: Roots and Functions

Umut Kocagöz


Agrarian Change by the BRICS' Large-Scale Investments in the Global Agrarian South: Focus on Brazil, Colombia and Mozambique.

Luis Felipe Rincón, Bernardo Mançano Fernandes



China’s Agricultural Belt And Road: Nascent Investor to Putative Development Partner?

Jiayi Zhou


From Agrarian Production to Landed Extraction: New Dynamics of Rural ‘Accumulation from Above and from Below’ in South Africa’s Communal Areas

Gavin Capps


Rural-Agrarian Change, Politics and Neo-feudalism in India: Case of Bundelkhand Region

Sudhir Kumar Suthar


Agricultural Cooperation in Russia: Today and 100 Years Before

Alexander Kurakin


Why Farmers’ Cooperatives Failed in China? Re-evaluating the Viability of Peasant Cooperatives in Agrarian Transition

Zhanping Hu, Qian Forrest Zhang, John A. Donaldson


Agricultural Investments in South Africa and The Agrarian Question of Labour

Brittany Bunce


Mining, Nomadism and Extractivism: the Politics of Civil Society Mobilisation in Mongolia

Pascale Hatcher


The right to self-determination in rural and indigenous politics in South Africa

Daniel Huizenga


Studying the (Dalit) Land Movement in Maharashtra: Contested Questions of Land and Labour in India

Awanish Kumar, Silva Lieberherr


Vietnamese migrant labour and the rise and maintenance of the sugarcane boom inside China: causes, conditions, consequences

Hue Le, Saturnino M. Borras Jr.,Huong Vu, Dien Nguyen


Old extractivism and new questions? Slow paths towards agrarian change in Colombia’s coal complex

Sergio Coronado


State-driven marketization: a preliminary review of China’s seed governance and marketization history

Siyuan XU


Bitter Sugarification: agro-extractivism, outgrower schemes and social differentiation in Busoga, Uganda

Giuliano Martiniello


Social reproduction of ‘classes of labour’ in rural South Africa: the case of Tugela Ferry irrigation scheme

Ben Cousins


Fiber, Seeds and Woods Used by Seven Ethnias in Argentina’s North West: Ecological and Social Implications

Francisco R. Barbaran, Pablo Picca, Alejandro Dean, Roberto A. Neumann


Peasants’ combat (agricultural) land corruption in a less competitive, authoritarian political context – the case of Vietnam

Nguyet Dang


Yellow Peril 2.0: A review and critique of current research and reporting on China’s rising land investments in Southeast Asia

Juliet Lu


South Africa’s grain-livestock complex, agro-accumulation and the food system: The case of crisis in the poultry industry

Alex Dubb



Food security and food sovereignty in Cambodia 1979-1989

Jenny Leigh Smith


Agrarian conflicts in Brazil

Jose Vicente Tavares-Dos-Santos


Land grabbing for agro-extractivism in the second neoliberal phase in Brazil

Bernardo Mançano Fernandes

64Chinese Companies in north-center Brazil: spatial adjustment, geographical reconfigurations and conflicts in the commodities chain productionVicente Eudes Lemos Alves, Débora Assumpção e Lima e Paloma Guitarrara.

Keynote and plenary speakers

Teodor Shanin (Russia)Marc Edelman (CUNY, USA)
Dzodzi Tsikata (Ghana)Jan Douwe van er Ploeg (WUR, Netherlands)
Jayati Ghosh (India)Henry Bernstein (SOAS, UK)
Ian Scoones (IDS Sussex) 

Organizing Committee includes

Teodor Shanin (Moscow), Alexander Nikulin (RANEPA, Moscow), Irina Trotsuk (Moscow), Ben Cousins (PLAAS, South Africa), Ruth Hall (PLAAS South Africa), Sergio Schneider (UFRGS, Brazil), Sergio Sauer (U of Brasilia), Ye Jingzhong (China Agricultural University, Beijing), Jun Borras (ISS, The Hague), Transnational Institute of TNI (Lyda Fernanda, Pietje Vervest, Jennifer Franco). BICAS secretariat (Juan Liu ICTA Barcelona, Ben McKay U of Calgary, Gustavo Oliveira, Swarthmore College.

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