Commodity & land rushes and regimes

Reshaping the politics of food, climate, labour and citizenship

  • How do contemporary global commodity rushes (‘land grabs’) reshape the politics of food, climate, labour, citizenship and geopolitics in different contexts?
  • What are the implications of such new regimes, in terms of structural, institutional and political shifts?

‘Commodity & land rushes and regimes: Reshaping five spheres of global social life’ (RRUSHES-5) sets out to answer these questions. It focuses on three countries which have been global hotspots of commodity and land rushes: Ethiopia, Myanmar and Colombia.

Guided by a multi-disciplinary theoretical framework and grounded in empirical work, the project will engage in practical policy questions aimed at probing the potential for socially just and ecologically sustainable reforms.

This €2.5 million project – funded through the prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant – is led by Professor Jun Borras. The team furthermore comprises Dr Tsegaye Moreda as well as 5 PhD candidates and a postdoctoral researcher who will start in early 2020.

Why is this research relevant?

Recent global commodity rushes have profoundly influenced societies across the globe. At least a quarter of a billion hectares of land have been affected, reshaping livelihoods and social and political relations. Contemporary commodity rushes are more complex and far-reaching than those we have seen before, requiring new thinking and practice in order to respond to such unprecedented challenges.

This project will change the way we study the recent commodity and land rushes, demonstrating why and how they concern not only the 3.5 billion people who live in rural areas, but the entire world population.


The project will collaborate with academic institutions and civil society.

In addition, there are 3 national collaborators who are based in each country/region:

  • Dessalegn Rahmato from the Forum for Social Studies (FSS) for Ethiopia
  • Dario Fajardo from Universidad de Externado de Colombia for Colombia
  • Chayan Vaddhanaphuti from Chiang Mai University for Myanmar

The project's key international civil society partner is the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute (TNI). TNI is a key international research and advocacy institute committed to social justice. Through TNI, the project will connect with broader international civil society groups.

  • EU-ERC logo combined - small

    This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 834006).

Contact the research team

Email address

If you would like more information about this research project, please contact Professor Jun Borras