Call for Papers – Special Issue Transnational Land Acquisitions (Land Grabbing)


Call for Papers – Special Issue Transnational Land Acquisitions (Land Grabbing)

Organizers: Alexandre Cesar Cunha Leite (UEPB - Brazil) e Thiago Lima (UFPB - Brazil)

Full manuscript submission: August 15, 2017 

Dossier Publication: December 2017

Link in portuguese

Author Guidelines


Transnational Land Acquisitions (Land Grabbing, also called in the literature Land Rush, Acarapamiento e Estrangeirização de Terras), is a theme that gained attention since the 2007/08 food crisis. It is not a new phenomenon, although new practices of capital appreciation, linked to the financialization of agricultural commodities, hikes in food prices, and the apprehension regarding food supply in emergent markets, the phenomenon gained intensities and particularities that demand attention from researchers of different fields of knowledge. Political scientists, sociologists, economists, among others have already seen the seriousness of the phenomenon which, supposedly, assumed bigger proportions in this century. Millions of land hectares have been changing hands, in very different ways and with very mixed motives, generating, in many cases, adverse side effects in socio-environmental terms. The initial hypothesis gravitated around the preoccupation regarding food supply and the financialization of agricultural commodities inside the global financial speculation movement. Later, analysts began to identify that the phenomenon could have other motivations, like the control of biological, energetic and mineral resources, transport routes, water sources, or simply the search for new opportunities of profit through production. Its treatment in the academy is regarded as multifaceted e multidisciplinary, which brings enormous difficulty in characterizing it. It is observed, for example, that land is transmitted through purchase, lease, loan, assignment, among others, in operations conducted between governments, governments, and private investors, or among national and/or foreign private actors. The operations can be accompanied by international technical cooperation agreements, aimed at developing local productive capacities or be part of natural resources extraction contracts with guaranteed foreign destination.

One of the main elements that call attention to Land Grabbing is the fact that the control transfer’s operations result in negative side effects to local populations. The new land controllers end up generating displacement of communities, which may lose their access to land, water, and culturally significant regions. The introduction of foreign investors tends to change local productive structures and, therefore, collective ways of life. Besides, a new element is added: the participation of developing countries as grabbers. It is observed that States conducts the search for new lands as diverse as South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Norway, United States, India, China, Argentina, and Brazil. However, the fact that developing, semiperiphery States, participate in the process may have some novelty. If previously the foreign control of lands were presented in North-South terms, in the 21st century there are strong South-South actions exploring those possibilities.

This Call for Papers aims at bringing new contributions to the studies of transnational land acquisitions for International Relations. The number and distinction of actors involved invite the most diversified approaches that may contribute to the construction of the knowledge in this theme.