Land grabbing and global governance: Critical perspectives

Matias Margulis, Nora McKeon, Santurnino Borras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Land grabbing has emerged as a significant issue in contemporary global governance that cuts across the fields of development, investment, food security, among others. Whereas land grabbing per se is not a new phenomenon, having historical precedents in the eras of imperialism, the character, scale, pace, orientation and key drivers of the recent wave of land grabs is a distinct historical phenomenon closely tied to major shifts in power and production in the global political economy. Land grabbing is facilitated by ever greater flows of capital, goods, and ideas across borders, and these flows occur through axes of power that are far more polycentric than the North-South imperialist tradition. In this introduction we argue that land grabbing speaks to many of the core questions of globalization studies. However, we note scholars of globalization have yet to deeply engage with this new field. We situate land grabbing in an era of advanced capitalism, multiple global crises and the role of new configurations of power and resistance in global governance institutions. The essays in this collection contribute to identifying land grabbing as an important and urgent topic for theoretical and empirical investigations to deepen our understanding of contemporary globalization and governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2013


  • land grabbing
  • large-scale land acquisitions
  • globalization
  • global governance
  • polycentrism


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