Special Issue "The Politics of Natural Resources in the Era of Climate Change and Populism"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alberto Alonso-Fradejas
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Kortenaerkade 12, 2518 AX The Hague, The Netherlands
Interests: resource extractivism; climate change adaptation and mitigation; social justice movements; politics of agrarian and environmental transformation
Ms. Daniela Andrade
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Kortenaerkade 12, 2518 AX The Hague, The Netherlands
Interests: political economy of agriculture and development; macro perspective on agrarian change (especially in Brazil and Mozambique); politics of agrarian transformation; populism
Prof. Dr. Saturnino M. Borras Jr.
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Kortenaerkade 12, 2518 AX The Hague, The Netherlands
Tel. +31 70 4260 664
Interests: land politics; flex crops; land sovereignty; climate change politics and resource grabbing; converging social justice issues and movements (agrarian, environmental, climate, labor justice); scholar-activism
Dr. Tsegaye Moreda
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Kortenaerkade 12, 2518 AX The Hague, The Netherlands
Interests: land grabbing; rise of extractivism; large-scale development interventions and environmental and climate change governance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past two decades, there has been an increasing convergence of multiple global crises around food, energy, environment, climate change, and finance. This contemporary convergence of multiple crises has triggered profound global agrarian and environmental transformations, which have, in turn, entailed far-reaching implications for various social classes and groups in the rural world. The responses to the crises are multiple and distinct. The dominant response to these converging crises is capitalism’s relentless search for more opportunities from these crises, which are its own creation, to make more profits out of them. Contemporary land grabs are a capitalist response to the convergence of crises in which corporations seek to acquire control of more natural resources such as land, water, forests, and minerals to turn them into profitable use. Such resource grabs and the ensuing transformations have provoked widespread reactions ‘from below’ and from state actors.

The politics of natural resources, i.e., “who gets which natural resources, how, how much, why, for what purposes and with what implications?” have been transformed. While there are continuities from the past in terms of appropriate governance response to the contemporary challenges, there are clear changes as well—principally brought about by the era of climate change politics, and increasingly reshaped in the context of the rise of various strands of populism and authoritarianism in various parts of the world today.

In view of this, for this Special Issue, we are interested in original contributions dealing with the changing character of the politics of natural resources—land, water, forests, and minerals—examined in the context of converging issues of global resource rush, climate change, and populism. We would like to receive contributions with a special emphasis on the rise of agro-extractivism, land grabbing, climate change mitigation and adaptation and on the various forms of political reactions by different social classes and groups towards dynamic changes in the political economy of natural resources.

Dr. Alberto Alonso-Fradejas
Ms. Daniela Andrade
Prof. Dr. Saturnino M. Borras Jr.
Dr. Tsegaye Moreda
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • agro-extractivism
  • land grabbing
  • climate change mitigation and adaptation

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Tenure Guidelines in Policy and Practice: Democratizing Land Control in Guatemala
Land 2019, 8(11), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8110168 - 06 Nov 2019
Abstract
This paper explores the challenges for democratizing land and natural resource control in Guatemala through use of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests (Tenure Guidelines). This international human rights instrument comes at a critical moment, [...] Read more.
This paper explores the challenges for democratizing land and natural resource control in Guatemala through use of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests (Tenure Guidelines). This international human rights instrument comes at a critical moment, in which the current global land rush has shaped contemporary agrarian transformation with serious implications for the right to food and control of natural resources. The Tenure Guidelines provide us with a unique opportunity to put land and natural resource tenure squarely under the prescriptions of international human rights law, rather than allowing tenure to be subsumed by a narrow understanding of property rights based on civil and merchant law. In Guatemala, we are witnessing a political opening, where the government has incorporated the language of the Tenure Guidelines into its regulatory framework unlike any other country in Latin America. At the same time, the world watches on while a slow-motion coup engulfs the Central American country, reflecting a global trend of gutting democracies and coopting the language and legislation meant to protect them. Thus, the implementation of the Tenure Guidelines is strongly contested by state and corporate actors seeking to use the instrument in order to gain political legitimacy for the expansion of agribusiness like oil palm and sugarcane, and other forms of extractive industry. This paper’s findings indicate that when applied together with a rights-based approach, the Tenure Guidelines are a powerful social and political tool. Such is especially true of the most marginalized populations who require protection and respect for their existing tenure rights, promotion of reforms for better access to and control over land and resources, and restoration of tenure rights resulting from displacement or dispossession. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Rights in the Time of Populism: Land and Institutional Change Amid the Reemergence of Right-Wing Authoritarianism in Colombia
Land 2019, 8(8), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080119 - 31 Jul 2019
Abstract
In Colombia, right-wing leadership returned to power after winning the presidential elections in 2018 in a campaign in which they opposed the previous government, primarily because of the negotiations and peacemaking with the FARC-EP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo ‘Armed Revolutionary [...] Read more.
In Colombia, right-wing leadership returned to power after winning the presidential elections in 2018 in a campaign in which they opposed the previous government, primarily because of the negotiations and peacemaking with the FARC-EP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo ‘Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia—People’s Army’), Colombia’s largest guerrilla organization. Globally, there is a vibrant academic debate about how to characterize the current rise of right-wing populism or authoritarianism, but more profound insights from each country’s situation and its political economy implications are needed. The victory in Colombia was due to numerous factors, including the support from some rural elites who have historically obstructed the enforcement of redistributive land policies. However, the populist aspirations of the right-wing government have been persistently frustrated not only by social unrest and political mobilization but also because of the enforcement of institutions previously incorporated into the country’s political scenario. Specifically, in terms of agrarian political economy, two sets of human rights-oriented institutional changes are relevant regarding this matter: (a) the Land Restitution Law enacted in 2011 and (b) the Comprehensive Rural Reform contained in the Agrarian Chapter of the Peace Agreement between the national government and the FARC-EP in 2016. The purpose of this paper is to ground the ongoing theoretical and political debate about the rise of different forms of populism and right-wing authoritarianism in the current Colombian political context, and its implications on the countryside. The analytical contribution of this paper is twofold: On the one hand, I propose an alternative for explaining the nature of the current political regime in Colombia as right-wing authoritarianism; on the other hand, I analyze some features of such regimes in terms of its disputes with the enforcement of human rights-oriented institutions, that are in force as the result of political processes triggered by peasants’ mobilization. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Land of Plenty, Land of Misery: Synergetic Resource Grabbing in Mozambique
Land 2019, 8(8), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080113 - 24 Jul 2019
Abstract
Global climate change policy enforcement has become the new driving force of resource grabbing in the context of the “scramble of resources” in Africa. Nevertheless, the environmental crisis should not be seen as an isolated phenomenon amid contemporary capitalism. On the contrary, a [...] Read more.
Global climate change policy enforcement has become the new driving force of resource grabbing in the context of the “scramble of resources” in Africa. Nevertheless, the environmental crisis should not be seen as an isolated phenomenon amid contemporary capitalism. On the contrary, a very distinct feature of the current wave of land grabs is the convergence of multiple crises, including food, energy/fuel, environmental, and financial. The Southern Mozambique District, Massingir, is an area with high potential regarding water sources and biodiversity. It recently became a host of a biofuel project, and also a huge block of land is being transformed into a conservation/tourism area; answering to many issues within capitalism’s crisis, this area is an evidence of how synergetic resource grabbing can arise as a response to the convergence of multiple crises. Therefore, by analyzing the emerging politics of natural resources in Massingir District and the dynamics regarding the land-use change, changes in property relations, it is possible to understand how rural livelihoods are shaped. Risks related to food security and sovereignty, loss of control and access to resources, consistent narrowing down of the set of livelihood strategies, and inter-community conflicts over scarce resources are the main implications of such emerging climate-smart land politics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Land Deals, Wage Labour, and Everyday Politics
Land 2019, 8(6), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8060094 - 13 Jun 2019
Abstract
This article explores the question of political struggles for inclusion on an oil palm land deal in Ghana. It examines the employment dynamics and the everyday politics of rural wage workers on a transnational oil palm plantation which is located in a predominantly [...] Read more.
This article explores the question of political struggles for inclusion on an oil palm land deal in Ghana. It examines the employment dynamics and the everyday politics of rural wage workers on a transnational oil palm plantation which is located in a predominantly migrant and settler society where large-scale agricultural production has only been introduced within the past decade. It shows that, by the nature of labour organization, as well as other structural issues, workers do not benefit equally from their work on plantations. The main form of farmworkers’ political struggles in the studied case has been the ‘everyday forms of resistance’ against exploitation and for better terms of incorporation. Particularly, they express agency through acts such as absenteeism and non-compliance, as well as engaging in other productive activities which enable them to maintain their basic food sovereignty/security. Nonetheless, their multiple and individualized everyday politics are not necessarily changing the structure of social relations associated with capitalist agriculture. Overall, this paper contributes to the land grab literature by providing context specific dynamics of the impacts of, and politics around land deals, and how they are shaped by a multiplicity of factors-beyond class. Full article
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