LGAR - Fixing the land: The role of knowledge in building new models for rural development
Keywords:land grabs, rural development
Over the past five years, the term “land grab” has made international headlines. First coined by activists documenting the rise in media reports about displacements caused by the sale or transfer of land, land grabbing quickly became an object of academic research and debate. Although the phenomenon of land grabbing—both as a characteristic of the contemporary global conjuncture and as a specific set of practices in particular places—has been difficult to precisely define, academics, activists, development practitioners, and policy-makers largely agree that there has been a concerted and increased rush to acquire land over the past decade. Conservative estimates suggest that large-scale land acquisitions (LSLA, as they are commonly known) have resulted in a ten- to twenty-fold increase in the amount of land changing hands annually since 2008 (over the annual average of the preceding forty years). Ongoing research suggests that investments were prompted by a combination of factors, such as the so-called global food crisis of 2007–08; concerns over land and energy scarcity; elite politics at multiple levels’ and market failures, particularly in housing and insurance, which liberated considerable capital for investment.
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