School of Geography

Agroecological practices as territorial development: an analytical schema from Brazilian case studies

12 December 2019

Time: 1:00 - 2:00pm
Venue: Graduate Centre Room 603

Les Levidow, Open University, UK, 
Davis Sansolo, and Monica Schiavinatto, 
Instituto de Políticas Públicas e Relações Internacionais (IPPRI), Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), São Paolo
Agroecological practices have been widely promoted as an alternative to the hegemonic agro-food system, yet they also can help to ‘green’ the system.  To strengthen a transformative agroecology, Latin American activists have promoted the concept desenvolvimento territorial rural (DTR or rural territorial development), which itself has different versions.  The dominant version advocates broad multi-actor coalitions to strengthen DTR, yet this obscures rival territorial agendas for gaining resources.  An antagonistic version instead analyses how capital accumulation drives societal conflicts, contingently resulting in DTR trajectories.  This relates to agrarian political economy perspectives on how the capital accumulation process has increasingly subsumed small-scale farm labour, but also how agroecological alternatives seek to minimise or bypass this subsumption.   Drawing on those perspectives, here an analytical schema helps identify how agroecological practices are appropriated for diverse trajectories of territorial development, illustrated by Brazilian case studies and comparisons among them.   The schema can strengthen a ‘strategic reading of territory’ by identifying multi-actor opportunities for a transformative agroecology.