African Farmers, Agrarian Transformation and Critical Agrarian Studies
By Ray Bush
The new page on roape.net Critical Agrarian Studies engages with the most important issue of our time: namely, how can we deliver food availability and accessibility at an ecological and financial cost affordable for Africa’s poor and in a way that is sustainable for the planet. This raises challenging empirical and theoretical issues of power dynamics in the production, distribution and exchange of food and over what types of food will be prioritised in a democratically organised global food regime. It raises issues in the framework of world food systems on how food is managed by transnational as well as national corporate and economic actors and processes, and how their power and legitimacy can be challenged by social movements and rural resistance to among other things, contract farming, agribusiness, water, land and other asset privatisation. The page will also raise crucial themes linked to the organisation of food production on a local scale in rural communities and in African households. We will host analysis of social relations of production and reproduction, gendered divisions of labour and the interaction between rural classes and urban built environments.
These exciting and transformative agrarian questions will be examined in the context of the broad perspective of critical agrarian studies. This analytical frame captures how agrarian life and livelihoods shape and are shaped by the politics, economics and social worlds of modernity. We will post updates and analysis of rural struggles that help explore and explain how peasants and rural classes are struggling to promote the radical transformation of Africa. We encourage empirical case study blog-debates informed by radical theoretical perspectives that analyse the political economy of agrarian social classes, the pressures that help shape their social reproduction and their interactions with other social classes and forces.