The New Enclosures: Critical Perspectives on Corporate Land Deals


White, Ben, Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Ruth Hall, Ian Scoones, and Wendy Wolford. 2012. “The New Enclosures: Critical Perspectives on Corporate Land Deals.” Journal of Peasant Studies 39 (3-4): 619–47. doi:10.1080/03066150.2012.691879.

Authors: Ben White, Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Ruth Hall, Ian Scoones, Wendy Wolford


The contributions to this collection use the tools of agrarian political economy to explore the rapid growth and complex dynamics of large-scale land deals in recent years, with a special focus on the implications of big land deals for property and labour regimes, labour processes and structures of accumulation. The first part of this introductory essay examines the implications of this agrarian political economy perspective. First we explore the continuities and contrasts between historical and contemporary land grabs, before examining the core underlying debate around large- versus small-scale farming futures. Next, we unpack the diverse contexts and causes of land grabbing today, highlighting six overlapping mechanisms. The following section turns to assessing the crisis narratives that frame the justifications for land deals, and the flaws in the argument around there being excess, empty or idle land available. Next the paper turns to an examination of the impacts of land deals, and the processes of inclusion and exclusion at play, before looking at patterns of resistance and constructions of alternatives. The final section introduces the papers in the collection.

Keywords: land, land grab, enclosure, political economy

Topics: Economies, Gender, Land Grabbing, Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations, Political Economies

Year: 2012

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