Land Grabs, Power, and Gender in East and Southern Africa: So, What’s New?


Verma, Ritu. 2014. “Land Grabs, Power, and Gender in East and Southern Africa: So, What’s New?” Feminist Economics 20 (1): 52–75. 

Author: Ritu Verma


When land grabs are viewed from a gendered and historical lens, critical questions arise concerning three domains of inquiry about what is arguably “new,” “foreign,” and “large-scale?” They highlight historical continuities from the colonial past elite and male capture and gendered micro-political land grabs unabated over long periods of time, which once aggregated across Sub-Saharan Africa, are large-scale in themselves. This contribution reflects on feminist political-ecological research on gender and land in Kenya, Mozambique, and Madagascar and provides windows into negotiations and contestations in processes of land grabs. It analyzes what is new, while considering relations of power and knowledge that shape different ways land grabs are named and, therefore, the kinds of actions that are subsequently prescribed. Land grabs are occurring in spite of strong laws and policies, illustrating the critical role of power relations in shaping them.

Keywords: land grabs, Gender, historical continuities, scale, elite capture, East and Southern Africa

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Economies, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Land Grabbing Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa

Year: 2014

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