Open Journal Systems

Nodes of resistance to green grabbing: a political ecology

Stan Weeber

Article ID: 49
Vol 1, Issue 2, 2016, Article identifier:

VIEWS - 1230 (Abstract) 876 (PDF)


Green grabbing is the privatization or appropriation of land for purposes of advancing a “green” economy while excluding local, indigenous people from natural resources. This is a problem of global scale that has arisen mainly during a historical period when free market, neo-liberal policies have dominated the world economy. The academic li-terature on the subject rarely mentions resistance to green grabbing, nor are there many efforts to critically and syste-matically examine the social dynamics of this process. We consider both what works and what fails during the process of opposition, as well as the social psychology of risk taking among both green grabbers and opponents. The paper con-cludes with a way forward proffering the resistance.


green grabbing, privatization, social psychology

Full Text:


Included Database


Backhouse M, 2014, Green grabbing — the case of palm oil expansion in so-called degraded areas in the Eastern Brazilian Amazon. In K Dietz, A Brunnenbrager, B Engels, et al., (eds.) The Political Ecology of Agrofuels. Routledge (pp.167–184).

Baletti B, 2012, Ordenamento territorial: neo-developmentalism and the struggle for territory in the Lower Brazilian Amazon. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2), 573–598.

Benjaminsin T A, Goldman M J, Minwary M Y, et al., 2013, Wildlife management in Tanzania: state control, rent seeking and community resistance. Development and Change, vol.44(5): 1087–1109.

Benjaminsin T A and Bryceson I, 2012. Conservation, green/blue grabbing and accumulation by dispossession in Tanzania. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 335–355.

Blas J and W Wallis, 2009, U.S. investor buys Sudanese warlord’s land, Financial Times, January 9, viewed March 5, 2016,

Borras Jr S M and Franco J C, 2012, Global land grabbing and trajectories of agrarian change. Journal of Agrarian Change, vol.12(1): 34–59.

Buchler B and Dressler W, 2012, Commodity conservation: the restructuring of community conservation in South Africa and the Philippines. Geoforum, vol.43(3): 367–376.

Cardenas R, 2012, Green multiculturalism: articulations of ethnic and environmental politics in a Colombian ‘black community’. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 309–333.

Castree N, 2011, Neoliberalism and the biophysical environment 3: putting theory into practice. Geography Compass, vol.5(1): 35–49.

Castree N, 2010, Neoliberalism and the biophysical environment: a synthesis and evaluation of the research. Environment and Society: Advances in Research, vol.1: 5–45.

Castree N, 2008, Neoliberalizing nature: the logics of deregulation and reregulation. Environment and Planning A: vol.40: 153–173.

Corson C, 2012, From rhetoric to practice: how high-profile politics impeded community consultation in Madagascar’s new protected areas. Society and Natural Resources, vol.25(4): 336–351.

Corson C, 2011, Territorialization, enclosure and neoliberalism: non-state influence in struggles over Madagascar’s forests. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.38(4): 703–726.

Corson C and MacDonald K I, 2012, Enclosing the global commons: the convention on biological diversity and green grabbing. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 263–283.

Cortes-Vasquez J, 2012, A natural life: neo-rurals and the power of everyday practices in protected areas. Journal of Political Ecology, vol.21: 493–515.

Cortez-Vasquez J and M Zedalis, 2013, Identity and native species conservation: similar historical ecologies from Idaho to Spain. Human Ecology, vol.41(6): 937–945.

De Angelis M, 2001, The continuous character of capital’s ‘enclosures’. The Commoner, vol.2: 1–27.

Deinenger K, Byerlee D, Lindsay J A, et al 2011, Rising Global Interest in Farmland. Can it Yield Sustainable and Equitable Benefits? Washington, D.C.: World Bank.

Deleuze G and Guattari G, 1987, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Draitser E, 2014, The financial elite and the global land grab, New Eastern Outlook, March 24, viewed March 9, 2016,

Dressler W, Büscher B, Schoon M, et al. 2010, From hope to crisis and back again? A critical history of the global CBNRM narrative. Environmental Conservation vol.37(1): 5–15.

Duvial S, Médard C, Hamerlynck O, et al. 2012, Land and water grabbing in an East African coastal wetland: the case of the Tana Delta. Water Alternatives, vol.5(2): 322–343.

EJOLT (Environmental Justice Organizations, Liabilities and Trade), 2014, EJOLT Report 10. The many faces of land grabbing: cases from Africa and Latin America, viewed March 10, 2016,

EJOLT (Environmental Justice Organizations, Liabilities and Trade), 2015, EJOLT Report 14. Toward environmental justice success in mining resistances: an empirical investigation, viewed March 10, 2016,

Fairhead J, Leach M, and Scoones I, 2012, ‘Green grabbing’: a new appropriation of nature? Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 237–261.

Filer C, 2012,Why green grabs don’t work in Papua New Guinea. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 599–617.

Fletcher R, 2010, Neoliberal environmentality: towards a poststructuralist political ecology of the conservation debate. Conservation and Society, vol.8(3): 171–181.

Foucault M, 1991, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of a Prison. London: Penguin.

Gardner B, 2012, Tourism and the politics of the global land grab in Tanzania: markets, appropriation and recognition. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 377–402.

Giddens A, 1990, The Consequences of Modernity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Global Nonviolent Action Base, 2007, Ugandans save the Mabira forest from sugarcane production, viewed March 2, 2016,

Goldman M, 2011, Strangers on their own land: Maasai and wildlife conservation in Northern Tanzania. Conservation and Society,

vol.9(1): 65–79.

GRAIN, 2013, Leaked ProSAVANA Master Plan confirms worst fears, viewed February 27, 2016,

GRAIN, 2011a, Pension funds: key players in the global farmland grab, viewed March 3, 2016,

GRAIN, 2011b, New agricultural agreement in Argentina: a land grabbers ‘instruction manual’, viewed March 4, 2016,

GRAIN, 2009, The new farm owners: corporate investors lead the rush for control over overseas farmland, viewed March 6, 2016,

Grajales J, 2011, The rifle and the title: paramilitary violence, land grab and land control in Colombia. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.38(4): 771–792.

Grandia L, 2007, Between Bolivar and bureaucracy: the Mesoamerican biological corridor. Conservation and Society, vol.5(4): 478–503.

Green K and W Adams, 2015, Green grabbing and the dynamics of local-level engagement with neoliberalization in Tanzania’s wild-life management areas. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.42(1): 97–117.

Hardin G, 1968, The tragedy of the commons. Science, vol.162(3859): 1243–1248.

Harvey D, 2005, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Holifield R, 2004, Neoliberalism and environmental justice in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: translating policy into managerial practice in hazardous waste remediation. Geoforum, vol.35(3): 285–297.

Kelly A B, 2011, Conservation practice as primitive accumulation. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.38(4): 683–701.

Klein N, 2007, The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism. New York: Metropolitan Books.

Latour B, 2007, Reassembling the SOCIAL: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Leach M, Fairhead J and Fraser J, 2012, Green grabs and biochar: revaluing African soils and farming in the new carbon economy. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 285–307.

Leach M, 2012, Q&A: the underside of ‘green’ transactions (interview of Melissa Leach by Joanne Foster), The New York Times, June 20, viewed March 2, 2016,

Levien M, 2012, The land question: special economic zones and the political economy of dispossession in India. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(3–4): 933–970.

Marx K and Engels F, 1967, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. New York: International Publishers.

Mbonde O, 2012, A guide to the environmental impact assessment process. Swara, vol.35(2): 36–41.

McAfee K, 2011, Selling nature to finance development? the contradictory logic of ‘global’ environmental-services markets. Paper presented at the Conference on Nature Inc. Questioning the Market Panacea in Environmental Policy and Conservation, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, 30 June–2 July 2011.

McCarthy J, 2002, First World political ecology: lessons from the Wise Use movement. Environment and Planning A, vol.34: 1281–1302.

McCarthy J, Vel J and Afiff S, 2012, Trajectories of land acquisition and enclosure: development schemes, virtual land grabs and green acquisitions in Indonesia’s outer islands. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 521–549.

McMichael P, 2012, The land grab and corporate food regime restructuring. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(3–4): 681–701.

Mills C W, 1959, The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.

Nalepa A R and Bauer D, 2012, Marginal lands: the role of remote sensing in constructing landscapes for agrofuel development. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 403–422.

Nature Kenya, 2016, Connecting nature and people, viewed March 1, 2016,

Neimark B D, 2012, Green grabbing at the ‘pharm’ gate: rosy periwinkle production in southern Madagascar. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 423–445.

Nelson F, 2010, (ed) Community Rights, Conservation and Contested Land: The Politics of Natural Resource Governance in Africa. London: Earthscan.

Ojeda D, 2012, Green pretexts: ecotourism, neoliberal conservation and land grabbing in Tayrona National Natural Park, Colombia. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 357–375.

Ojeda D, 2013, War and tourism: The banal geographies of security in Colombia’s ‘retaking’. Geopolitics, vol.18(4): 759–778.

Patinkin J, 2013, Tanzania’s Maasai battle game hunters for grazing land, BBC News, April 18, viewed February 24, 2016,

Pearce D and Warford J, 1993, World Without End: Economics, Environment and Sustainable Development. New York: Oxford University Press.

Peck J and Tickell A, 2002, Neoliberalizing space. Antipode, vol.32(3): 380–404.

Peluso N L, 1993, Coercing conservation? The politics of state resource control. Global Environmental Change, vol.3(2): 199–217.

Peluso N L and Lund C, 2011, New frontiers of land control: introduction. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.38(4): 667–681.

Pye O, 2010, The biofuel connection — transnational activism and the palm oil boom. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.37(4): 851–874.

Pye O, 2015, Transnational space and workers’ struggles: reshaping the palm oil industry in Malaysia. In K Dietz, A Brunnengrager, B Engels, et al., (eds) The Political Ecology of the Agrofuels. Routledge (pp.186–201).

Robbins P, 2004, Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Rocheleau D, 2015, Networked, rooted and territorial: green grabbing and resistance in Chiapas. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.42 (3–4): 695–723.

Rosset P and Martinez-Torres M E, 2005. Participation Evaluation of La Vie Campesino. Mexico: CECCAM.

Seagle C, 2012, Inverting the impacts: mining, conservation and sustainability claims near the Rio Tinto/QMM ilmenite mine in Fort Dauphin, southeast Madagascar. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 447–477.

Sikor T and Lund C, 2009, Access and property: a question of power and authority. Development and Change, vol.40(1): 1–22.

Snijders D, 2012, Wild property and its boundaries: on wildlife policy and rural implications in South Africa. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 503–520.

Sullivan S, 2009a, Green capitalism, and the cultural poverty of constructing nature as service provider. Radical Anthropology, vol.3: 18–27.

Sullivan S, 2009b, Green capitalism, and the cultural poverty of constructing nature as a service provider. In S Bohm and S Dabhi (eds), Upsetting the Offset: the Political Economy of Carbon Markets. London: Mayfly Books (pp.255–274).

Swynegedouw E, 1997, Neither local nor global: ‘glocalization’ and the politics of scale. In K Cox (ed), Spaces of Globalization: Reasserting to the Power of the Local. New York: Guilford Press.

Tienhaara K, 2012, The potential perils of forest carbon contracts for developing countries: cases from Africa. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 551–572.

Timmerman K, 2014, Where Am I Eating? An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Transnational Institute, 2012, The global land grab: a primer, October 11, viewed February 27, 2016,

Valcuende J M, Quintero V and Cortes-Vasquez J, 2011, Discursive natures in protected areas. Journal of Iberoamerican Anthropology, vol.6(1): 27–54.

Vandergeest P and Peluso N L, 1995, Territorialization and state power in Thailand. Theory and Society, vol.24(3): 385–426.

Vandergeest P, Ponte S and Bush S, 2015, Assembling sustainable territories: space, subjects, objects and expertise in seafood certi-fication. Environment and Planning A, vol.47(9): 1907–1925.

Wallerstein I, 1974, The Modern World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Academic Press.

Wolford W, 2010, Contemporary land grabs in Latin America. Paper presented at the TNI- ICASFIAN Side Event to the 13th Session of the FAO World Food Security Council, October.

Ybarra M, 2012, Taming the jungle, saving the Maya forest: sedimented counterinsurgency practices in contemporary Guatemalan conservation. Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.39(2): 479–502.

(1230 Abstract Views, 876 PDF Downloads)


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Stan Weeber

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.