The Great Commodification and its Paradoxes. A Historical, Comparative and Global Perspective on Land Regimes and Land Reforms

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This presentation applies a comparative and global perspective to regional trajectories of land reforms and rural change within a globalizing world (18th -21st centuries). The struggle over the allocation of (rights over) resources between owners of the land, users of the land and state structures acts as a centripetal force behind the intertwinement of the rural areas with global processes of capitalist incorporation. The commodification of land is shaped by and has shaped different though connected regional histories of incorporation for about five centuries now. This process intersects with other historical developments, such as economic transformations in view of increasing resource competition, ecological changes, increasing state control and the social reorganization of peasant livelihoods, in which peasant and indigenous peoples appear as active negotiators rather than mere objects of assimilation or segregation. New public regulations pertaining to land use have been a primary tool for opening access to labour and commodity production. State-induced land reforms have acted as a crucial instrument in the deepening and widening of centralized land regimes and can be adopted as revealing research entries for historical, comparative and global analyses of trajectories of rural transformation. Bringing the regional trajectories of rural transformation into dialogue enhances our understanding of how shifting regulations of access and property rights over land mould into interconnected, “uneven” and intensely negotiated trajectories.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventGlobal governance and agrarian justice: Global governance/politics, climate justice & agrarian/social justice. An international colloquium - International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands
Duration: 4 Feb 20165 Feb 2016


ConferenceGlobal governance and agrarian justice
CityThe Hague
Internet address

Cite this