Governing a Liminal Land Deal: The Biopolitics and Necropolitics of Gender


Chung, Youjin B. 2020. “Governing a Liminal Land Deal: The Biopolitics and Necropolitics of Gender.” Antipode 52 (3): 722–41.

Author: Youjin B. Chung


Over the past decade, there has been a surge in large-scale land acquisitions around the world. Yet, increasing evidence suggests that many of the prominent land deals signed during the global land rush are struggling to materialise. This emergent pattern of liminality has important implications for understanding the everyday, contingent, and gendered processes of land deal governance and subject formation. Drawing on ethnographic research, this article examines the gendered governance of a “liminal” land deal in coastal Tanzania, through a case of the EcoEnergy Sugar Project. It shows how the project’s prolonged delay has given rise, over time, to two contradistinctive sets of actors and mechanisms of control: biopolitical interventions of international development consultants focused on livelihood improvements, and necro political interventions of district paramilitary forces focused on surveillance and violence. While seemingly contradictory, I argue that both enactments of power fundamentally relied on and reproduced normative gender in rural Tanzania.

Keywords: land grab, biopolitics, necropolitics, gender, development, Tanzania

Topics: Development, Environment, Gender, Land Grabbing, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Paramilitaries, Livelihoods, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Tanzania

Year: 2020

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