Beyond land grabs: new insights on land struggles and global agrarian change

Gustavo de L.T. Oliveira, Ben M. McKay, Juan Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The conjunction of climate, food, and financial crises in the late 2000s triggered renewed interest in farmland and agribusiness investments around the world. This phenomenon became known as the ‘global land grab' and sparked debates among social movements, NGOs, academics, government and international development agencies worldwide. In this introduction, we critically analyse the ‘state of the literature' so far, and outline four areas that are moving the debate ‘beyond land grabs'. These include: (1) the role of contract farming and differentiation among farm workers in the consolidation of farmland; (2) the broader forms of dispossession and mechanisms of control and value grabbing beyond ‘classic’ land grabs for agricultural production; (3) discourses about, and responses to, Chinese agribusiness investments abroad; and (4) the relationship between financialization and land grabbing. Ultimately, we propose new directions to deepen and even transform the research agenda on land struggles and agroindustrial restructuring around the world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-338
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • agricultural labour
  • contract farming
  • control grabbing
  • dispossession
  • financialization
  • Global land grab


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