Search results for: brazilian-agrarian-social-movements

Brazilian Agrarian Social Movements

Author : Rebecca Tarlau
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Contradictions between impressive levels of economic growth and the persistence of poverty and inequality are perhaps nowhere more evident than in rural Brazil. While Brazil might appear to be an example of the potential harmony between large-scale, export-oriented agribusiness and small-scale family farming, high levels of rural resistance contradict this vision. In this volume, individual contributions from a variety of researchers across the field highlight seven key characteristics of contemporary Brazilian resistance that have broader resonance in the region and beyond: the growth of international networks, the changing structure of state–society collaboration, the deepening of territorial claims, the importance of autonomy, the development of alternative economies, continued opposition to dispossession, and struggles over the meaning of nature. By analyzing rural mobilization in Brazil, this collection offers a range of insights relevant to rural contention globally. Each contribution in this title increases our understanding of alternative agricultural production, large-scale development projects, education, race and political parties in the contemporary agrarian context. This book was previously published as a special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies.

This Land Is Ours Now

Author : Wendy Wolford
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In This Land Is Ours Now, Wendy Wolford presents an original framework for understanding social mobilization. She argues that social movements are not the politically coherent, bounded entities often portrayed by scholars, the press, and movement leaders. Instead, they are constantly changing mediations between localized moral economies and official movement ideologies. Wolford develops her argument by analyzing how a particular social movement works: Brazil’s Rural Landless Workers’ Movement, known as the Movimento Sem Terra (MST). Founded in the southernmost states of Brazil in the mid-1980s, this extraordinary grassroots agrarian movement grew dramatically in the ensuing years. By the late 1990s it was the most dynamic, well-organized social movement in Brazilian history. Drawing on extensive ethnographic research, Wolford compares the development of the movement in Brazil’s southern state of Santa Catarina and its northeastern state of Pernambuco. As she explains, in the south, most of the movement’s members were sons and daughters of small peasant farmers; in the northeast, they were almost all former plantation workers, who related awkwardly to the movement’s agenda of accessing “land for those who work it.” The MST became an effective presence in Pernambuco only after the local sugarcane economy had collapsed. Worldwide sugarcane prices dropped throughout the 1990s, and by 1999 the MST was a prominent political organizer in the northeastern plantation region. Yet fewer than four years later, most of the region’s workers had dropped out of the movement. By delving into the northeastern workers’ motivations for joining and then leaving the MST, Wolford adds nuance and depth to accounts of a celebrated grassroots social movement, and she highlights the contingent nature of social movements and political identities more broadly.

Social Movements Law and the Politics of Land Reform

Author : George Meszaros
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Social Movements, Law and the Politics of Land Reform investigates how rural social movements are struggling for land reform against the background of ambitious but unfulfilled constitutional promises evident in much of the developing world. Taking Brazil as an example, it unpicks the complex reasons behind the remarkably consistent failures of its constitution and law enforcement mechanisms to deliver social justice. Using detailed empirical evidence and focusing upon the relationship between rural social struggles and the state, the book develops a threefold argument: first, the inescapable presence of power relations in all aspects of the production and reproduction of law; secondly their dominant impact on socio-legal outcomes; and finally the essential and positive role played by social movements in redressing those power imbalances and realising law’s progressive potentialities.

Land Protest and Politics

Author : Gabriel Ondetti
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Brazil is a country of extreme inequalities, one of the most important of which is the acute concentration of rural land ownership. In recent decades, however, poor landless workers have mounted a major challenge to this state of affairs. A broad grassroots social movement led by the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST) has mobilized hundreds of thousands of families to pressure authorities for land reform through mass protest. This book explores the evolution of the landless movement from its birth during the twilight years of Brazil&’s military dictatorship through the first government of Luiz In&ácio Lula da Silva. It uses this case to test a number of major theoretical perspectives on social movements and engages in a critical dialogue with both contemporary political opportunity theory and Mancur Olson&’s classic economic theory of collective action. Ondetti seeks to explain the major moments of change in the landless movement's growth trajectory: its initial emergence in the late 1970s and early 80s, its rapid takeoff in the mid-1990s, its acute but ultimately temporary crisis in the early 2000s, and its resurgence during Lula's first term in office. He finds strong support for the influential, but much-criticized political opportunity perspective. At the same time, however, he underscores some of the problems with how political opportunity has been conceptualized in the past. The book also seeks to shed light on the anomalous fact that the landless movement continued to expand in the decade following the restoration of Brazilian democracy in 1985 despite the general trend toward social-movement decline. His argument, which highlights the unusual structure of incentives involved in the struggle for land in Brazil, casts doubt on a key assumption underlying Olson's theory.

Social Mobilization Global Capitalism and Struggles over Food

Author : Renata Motta
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This book explores the transformation of Brazil and Argentina into two of the world’s largest producers of genetically modified (GM) crops. Systematically comparing their stories in order to explain their paths, differences, ruptures and changes, the author reveals that the emergence of the two nations as leading producers of GM crops cannot be explained by technological superiority of biotechnology; rather, their trajectories are the results of political struggles surrounding agrarian development, in which social movements and the rural poor contested the advancement of biotechnologically-based agrarian models, but have been silenced, ignored, or demobilized by a network of actors in favour of GM crops. Based on rich interview and media material collected amongst activists, the author highlights the importance of political struggles over GM crops not only to debates on agrarian futures and food security, but also as illustrations of the challenges faced by contemporary democracies. An international comparative study, this book raises the question of how social mobilization and rights claims can counter the systemic imperatives of global capitalism and political interests, at a time when regional governments are reliant on commodity booms, whilst globally, governments are obliged to introduce programmes of austerity. As such it will appeal to scholars of sociology, political science and geography with interests in social movements, development, globalization, inequality and political economy.

Challenging Social Inequality

Author : Miguel Carter
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In Challenging Social Inequality, an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars and development workers explores the causes, consequences, and contemporary reactions to Brazil's sharply unequal agrarian structure. They focus on the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST)—Latin America's largest and most prominent social movement—and its ongoing efforts to confront historic patterns of inequality in the Brazilian countryside. Several essays provide essential historical background for understanding the MST. They examine Brazil's agrarian structure, state policies, and the formation of rural civil-society organizations. Other essays build on a frequently made distinction between the struggle for land and the struggle on the land. The first refers to the mobilization undertaken by landless peasants to demand government land redistribution. The struggle on the land takes place after the establishment of an official agricultural settlement. The main efforts during this phase are geared toward developing productive and meaningful rural communities. The last essays in the collection are wide-ranging analyses of the MST, which delve into the movement's relations with recent governments and its impact on other Brazilian social movements. In the conclusion, Miguel Carter appraises the future of agrarian reform in Brazil. Contributors. José Batista Gonçalves Afonso, Sonia Maria P..P. Bergamasco, Sue Branford, Elena Calvo-González, Miguel Carter, Horacio Martins de Carvalho, Guilherme Costa Delgado, Bernardo Mançano Fernandes, Leonilde Sérvolo de Medeiros, George Mészáros, Luiz Antonio Norder, Gabriel Ondetti, Ivo Poletto, Marcelo Carvalho Rosa, Lygia Maria Sigaud, Emmanuel Wambergue, Wendy Wolford

The Politics of Agrarian Reform in Brazil

Author : Wilder Robles
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The Politics of Agrarian Reform in Brazil examines the interrelationships among peasant mobilization, agrarian reform and co-operativism in contemporary Brazil. Specifically, it addresses the challenges facing peasant movements in their pursuit of political and economic democracy. The book takes as a point of reference the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), the most dynamic force for progressive social change in Latin America today. Robles and Veltmeyer argue that the MST has established an innovative community-based model for consolidating agrarian reform and has effectively practiced the politics of land occupation and the politics of agricultural co-operativism to consolidate agrarian reform. This integrated approach to agrarian reform has reduced chronic poverty, enhanced peasant identity, and promoted environmental stewardship.

The Polictical Ecology of Education

Author : David Meek
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Agrarian social movements are at a crossroads. Although these movements have made significant strides in advancing the concept of food sovereignty, the reality is that many of their members remain engaged in environmentally degrading forms of agriculture, and the lands they farm are increasingly unproductive. Whether movement farmers will be able to remain living on the land, and dedicated to alternative agricultural practices, is a pressing question. The Political Ecology of Education examines the opportunities for and constraints on advancing food sovereignty in the 17 de Abril settlement, a community born out of a massacre of landless Brazilian workers in 1996. Based on immersive fieldwork over the course of seven years, David Meek makes the provocative argument that critical forms of food systems education are integral to agrarian social movements' survival. While the need for critical approaches is especially immediate in the Amazon, Meek's study speaks to the burgeoning attention to food systems education at various educational levels worldwide, from primary to postgraduate programs. His book calls us to rethink the politics of the possible within these pedagogies.

This Land is Ours Now

Author : Wendy Wei-Chen Wolford
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Rural Social Movements in Latin America

Author : Carmen Diana Deere
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All across Latin America, rural peoples are organizing in support of broadly distinct but interrelated issues. Food sovereignty, agrarian reform, indigenous and women's rights, sustainable development, fair trade, and immigration issues are the focus of a large number of social movements found in countries such as Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Brazil, and Peru. The contributors to Rural Social Movements in Latin America include academic researchers as well as social movement leaders who are seeking to effect change in their countries and communities. As a group they are at the forefront of some of the most critical environmental, social, and political issues of the day. This volume highlights the central role these movements play in opposition to the neoliberal model of development and offers fresh insights on emerging alternatives at the local, national, and hemispheric level. It also illustrates and analyzes the similarities--notably the struggle for sustainable livelihoods--as well as the difference among these various peasant, indigenous, and rural women's movements. A co-publication with the University of Florida Center for Latin American Studies