WASS PhD Thematic Activity: (Re-) Engaging with Agrarian Transformation: the Rural, a Battlefield of New Social Hierarchies

The current era of neo-liberal globalization, marked by intensified international trade relations, has also significantly altered the nature and direction of patterns of agrarian change. Manifestations of this are the rather abrupt intensification of export driven agribusiness, but also include more subtle transformations
provoked by simultaneous process of land (and water) privatization and the linking of formerly disconnected markets. These happen through profound changes in tenure – use and distribution of water and land resources – and labour relations. Although these rural transformations involve a wide and expanding range of actors – the state, global institutions – rural societies, often constituted by family farms, are at the center.

Organisator Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS), Water Resources Management, Rural Sociology

wo 4 december 2013 tot vr 6 december 2013 09:30

Locatie Lumen, building number 100
Droevendaalsesteeg 3a
6708 PB Wageningen
+31 317 481 700
Gaia, building number 101
Droevendaalsesteeg 3
6708 PB Wageningen
+31 317 48 16 00
Zaal/kamer GAIA 2, Lumen 1

Members of these societies and farms are faced with rapidly changing realities, offering new ways of being and making a living for some, while forcing other to give up farming altogether. Current processes of agrarian transformations work to redistribute resources and incomes, creating new inequalities through new forms of accumulation that produces wealth for some, but deprive others of their sources of living. As such, new winners and losers emerge, with a wide range of social “classes” across scales that are connected in complex and multi-stranded relations of production, trade and consumption.

The leading questions of the seminar will be:
  1. How to fruitfully (re-) engage with existing theoretical debates (i.e. agrarian change, the peasant debate) to learn from the past and to theorize about the present;
  2. What are the different ways of understanding and theorizing the linkages between current, globalizing, processes of agrarian change and new, emerging forms of social differentiation and reconfigurations of power relations at the level of the family farm and within the rural society?


All events will take place in Gaia 2 and Lumen 1. The PhD workshop is limited to a maximum of 15 PhD candidates (pre-registration is required by sending an email to: The seminar is open for the general public.

Day 1 – Workshop : 4th of December

Transnational feminist research: Global connections and rural realities from a critical perspective
Location: Gaia 2

PhD workshop

09.30- 10.00 Word of welcome & objectives - Margreet Zwarteveen

10.00-10.45 Feminist Commodity Chain Analysis: A Framework to Conceptualize Value and Interpret Perplexity - Priti Ramamurthy

10.45 – 11.30 Feminist Political Ecologies: Glocal struggles for wellbeing and livelihoods - Wendy Harcourt

11.30 – 12.45 Discussion
12.45 – 13.45 Lunch
13.45 – 14.30 Fixing and Nixing the politics of water privatization -  Rhodante Ahlers

14.30 – 15.15 Re-allocations of public sector water: The case of Maharashtra - Seema Kulkarni
15.15 – 15.30 Coffee Break
15.30 – 16.45 Discussion
16.45 – 17.30 Wrap-up of the day Margreet Zwarteveen

Day 2 – Workshop : 5th of December

Transnational feminist research: PhD presentations
Location: Lumen 1

10.00 – 11.00 Presentation Research of PhDs
11.00 - 12.00 Discussion
12.00 – 13.00 Lunch
13.00 – 14.00 Presentation research of PhDs
14.00 – 15.00 Discussion
15.00 – 16.00 Presentation research of PhDs PhD Candidates
16.00 – 17.00 Discussion
17.00 – 17.30 Wrap-up of the day - Margreet Zwarteveen

Day 3 – Seminar : 6th of December

(Re-)engaging with agrarian transformation: the rural, a battlefield of new social hierarchies?
Location: Lumen 1

09.30 – 10.00 Words of welcome and outline of the day

10.00 - 10.45 The future of the peasantry: why to (re-)engage in debates on agrarian change - Jan Douwe van der Ploeg

10.45-11.30 The historical construction of the Moroccan peasantry's political invisibility - Mostafa Errahj
11.30 – 12.30 Discussion - Sietze Vellema
12.30 – 13.30 Lunch break

13.30 – 14.15 'Who wants to be a farmer? Agriculture and the generation problem - Ben White

14.15 – 15.00 If they work, we live: Transformations in the social reproduction of farming and families in smallholder households in rural India - Priti Ramamurthy
15.00 – 16.00 Discussion & Coffee break

15.30 – 16.15 Challenge the romance with resilience: the politics of scale and emotion within climate change adaptation - Andrea Nightingale
16.15 – 17.00 Discussion - Margreet Zwarteveen

17.00 – 17.30 Drinks