1st Edition

The Politics of Biofuels, Land and Agrarian Change

    408 Pages
    by Routledge

    408 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book addresses key questions on biofuels within agrarian political economy, political sociology and political ecology. Contributions are based on fresh empirical materials from different parts of the world. The book starts with four key questions in agrarian political economy: Who owns what? Who does what? Who gets what? And what do they do with the surplus wealth? It also addresses the emergent social and political relations in the biofuel complex and, given the impacts on natural resources and sustainability, engages with questions about people-environment interactions. At the same time, the book is concerned with the politics of representation, that is, what are the discursive frames through which biofuels are promoted and/or opposed?

    The book analyses the institutional structures, and cultures of energy consumption on which a biofuels complex depends, and the alternative political and ecological visions emerging that call the biofuels complex into question. Across sixteen chapters presenting material from five regions across the North-South divide and focusing on fourteen countries including Brazil, Indonesia, India, USA and Germany, these topics are addressed within the following themes: global (re)configurations; agro-ecological visions; conflicts, resistances and diverse outcomes; state, capital and society relations; mobilising opposition, creating alternatives; and change and continuity.

    This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies.

    1. The politics of biofuels, land and agrarian change: editors’ introduction  Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Saint Mary’s University, Canada; Phil McMichael, Cornell, University, USA; Ian Scoones, IDS, University of Sussex, UK

    2. Agrofuels capitalism: a view from political economy  Ben White and Anirban Dasgupta, International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague

    3. Agrofuels in the food regime  Phil McMichael, Cornell University, USA

    4. Forests, food, and fuel in the tropics: the uneven social and ecological consequences of the emerging political economy of biofuels  Peter Dauvergne and Kate Neville, University of British Columbia, Canada

    5. Assumptions in the European Union biofuels policy: frictions with experiences in Germany, Brazil and Mozambique  Jennifer Franco (Transnational Institute, Amstedam), Les Levidow (Open University, UK), David Fig, Lucia Goldfarb (Transnational Institute, Amsterdam), Mireille Hönicke (Agrar Buko, Germany), and Maria Luisa Mendonça (Rede Social, Brazil)

    6. Power is sweet: sugarcane in the global ethanol assemblage  Gail Hollander (Florida International University)

    7. Fields of Dreams: Negotiating an Ethanol Agenda in the Midwest United States  Sean Gillon (University of California, Santa Cruz)

    8. Biofuels in Brazil: Debates and Impacts  John Wilkinson and Selena Herrera (Rural Federal University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

    9. Biofuel, Dairy Production and Beef in Brazil: Competing Claims on Land Use in São Paulo State  Andre Novo, Kees Jansen, Maja Slingerland and Ken Giller (Wageningen University, The Netherlands)

    10. Agrofuel Politics in Brazil: Paradigmatic and Territorial Disputes  Bernardo Mançano Fernandes (Presidente Prudente campus of São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Brazil), Clifford Andrew Welch (Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), Brazil) and Elienaí Constantino Gonçalves (Presidente Prudente campus of São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Brazil)

    11. Processes of inclusion and adverse incorporation: oil palm and agrarian change in Sumatra, Indonesia  John McCarthy (Australian National University)

    12. The Biofuel Connection – Transnational Activism and the Palm Oil Boom  Oliver Pye (Bonn University)

    13. The political ecology of Jatropha curcas plantations for biodiesel in Tamil Nadu, India  Pere Ariza-Montobbio (University Autonomous of Barcelona), Sharachchandra Lele (Centre for Environment and Development, Ashoka Trust Research for Ecology and the Environment, India), Giorgos Kallis (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona ) and Joan Martinez-Alier (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

    14. Over the heads of local people: consultation, consent and recompense in large-scale land deals for biofuels projects in Africa  Sonja Vermeulen & Lorenzo Cotula (International Institute of Environment and Development, IIED, London)

    15. Big Sugar in southern Africa: rural development and the perverted potential of sugar/ethanol exports  Ben Richardson (Warwick University, UK)

    16. The politics of Jatropha-based biofuels in Kenya: Convergence and divergence among NGOs, donors, government officials and farmers  Carol Hunsberger (Carleton University, Canada)


    Saturnino M. Borras Jr. is Canada Research Chair in International Development Studies at Saint Mary’s University, Canada, an Adjunct Professor at China Agricultural University, Beijing, and a Fellow of the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute (TNI) and California-based Food First. He is joining the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, Netherlands in January 2011.

    Philip McMichael is a Professor of Development Sociology at Cornell University. His research focuses on food regimes, agrarian movements, and climate change. Key publications include: New Directions in the Sociology of Global Development (co-edited, 2005), Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective (2008), and Contesting Development: Critical Struggles for Social Change (2010).

    Ian Scoones is a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK. He has a background in agricultural ecology and his interdisciplinary research links the natural and social sciences and focuses on the relationships between science and technology, local knowledge and livelihoods and the politics of policy processes. He is currently co-director of the ESRC STEPS Centre at Sussex and Joint Convenor of the Future Agricultures Consortium.